Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I've been off the radar a bit, partly because things have been so busy and partly because we have been carrying out covert ops (gift-creation) in class lately! We have a big day planned tomorrow, as we continue with some Christmas crafts and watch that great example of 90's cinematic nostalgia, Home Alone 2.

I will post a further update tomorrow, once the dust has settled some. Hope preparations are going well for Christmas, and try to stay dry this week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A quick note, more later!

Hello all,

I have a meeting right after class, and must leave immediately after to attend an award ceremony with my fiancee. I am happy to say that the business we own is the recipient of two awards in the annual Scope Magazine "Best of St. John's" Awards tonight, but I will try to post something as soon as I get home tonight.

We had a busy day, taking time to work on our writing and math in particular. We also fit in a great discussion about our progress through the curriculum so far, as well as talking about my plans for the rest of the year. I received lots of wonderful ideas and feedback, all things that I will gladly factor into my in-class and extra-curricular activities in the upcoming months!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A couple Christmassy links

Here are a couple of games and activities that tie into the season. This first one involves gingerbread, candy and math. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

http://www.multiplication.com/flashgames/HolidayPractice.htm

This game has no educational value. One click to make the penguin jump, a second click to activate Yeti.

http://www.addictinggames.com/penguinswing.html

This game involves 3 of my favourite things: monsters, catapults, and healthy eating.

http://www.nutritionexplorations.org/kids/activities/monster2.asp

Here comes Santa Claus...

We had plenty of work to do today, but I'm happy to day the class has generally been able to retain focus as we get closer to the holidays. A few students have some work to finish up tonight, but we made great strides in most areas. The first December book reports are finished, with some great work being showcased. We had a great "How to get rid of the monsters under your bed" poster, a great character sketch, an informational poster, and a beautiful painted wooden Santa.


I announced that I will be enforcing a few school policies a bit more seriously leading up to the holidays, particularly being polite to other students and always changing your shoes when you come into school. Aside from both being good ideas (and school-wide rules), I don't want there to be any double-standards. We also introduced "Homework Buddies" in an effort to make sure everybody is prepared before they go home. Also, given that time is limited and stretched thin, I am asking students to get to class as early as possible to make things a bit more relaxed over these last few days.

 
The class also chatted about what types of activities we would like to do in the lead up to Christmas. I think there is fun aplenty to be had, and I can't wait to get it rolling! We had our first candy canes today, no doubt the first of plenty to come. In lieu of having a class Christmas tree, we will be making a small Christmas Tree forest that will have one tree made by each student. This will be a mixed-media art project, and students can take these trees home as decorations or ornaments for Christmas.

Not much else to mention, other than to say that I will post a couple more links tonight. I removed a few elements from the blog (countdown tree and falling snow) because I was having some issues with the source code. Source code is the basic text that I input to create different visual elements on this page, and is so dorky I can't even believe I'm explaining it.

Please accept this festive video as my apology! I miss having only CBC, when this Christmas Special was my only option for holiday viewing.



Cheers!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It doesn't get much cuter than kids dressed as snowflakes...

We had the immense pleasure of seeing the Grade 2/Grade 6 Christmas Concert this morning, which was a nice way to launch into Christmas full speed. The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, as we entered the final countdown 'til holidays in a week or so. Process Writing is coming along well, and we've made our way through the entire digestive system as well. I distributed the surveys the class developed today as well, and we carried out an exhaustive review of the necessary vocab and concepts for Friday's science test.

Tomorrow I plan on having the class finish up their letters to Santa, and we will also create a Christmas tree for our class. In our library period, Ms. Godden will be reading a Hanukkah story. Between these things, as well as moving along in Math and starting book reports, we should have a pretty full day! Video editing will keep moving along; Ta-Da!!

Have a good night, and drop me an email if you have any questions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another busy day!

Today was another in a series of whirlwind days we have had lately in our class. I introduced the binder we will be using to catalog Country Profiles, something some students have already begun to do in their spare time. We also inaugurated a classroom Art Gallery that I am encouraging students to fill up. Each student will have 1 piece at a time in the Gallery, and can replace it whenever they have something new. We began a new chapter in Math (graphing, data processing) and carried out some fun activities to model why this skill is both important and relevant on a daily basis.

I didn't get a chance to begin the video-editing, because Gym was extended this morning. Mme Tapper has been taking the Grade 4's out as a group over the last couple of weeks, since the gym has been in use for a multitude of Christmas Concerts. I hope to start video editing tomorrow, with a lofty goal of having it finished before Christmas. On the topic of Christmas, we made stockings today in an effort to further decorate the classroom. Nice work!

Book Reports are due on Friday, but I already have a couple turned in. I encourage students to bring Book Reports in as soon as they are complete, so that they can "get them out of the way" by presenting early if they wish. This also provides a good model for students who have yet to finish theirs up. I continue to be amazed by the calibre of work that I am seeing, especially the level at which students are incorporating the pointers I have given and the new skills they have learned.

Letters to Santa will be ready for final drafts on Wednesday, as our Process Writing goes into 1st draft stage tomorrow. If students are falling behind in this process or I think they could use some extra support, I will send them home with their current draft to work on a bit. The intention is to give more time to generate content and review their work, so don't worry about it being perfect.

Today's lesson in Religion was about the origins, traditions and meaning of Hanukkah. Rather than just read from the text, I decided to set up stations in class with different books on the topic. Some were stories, others were basic informational texts, and others were more challenging reference books. I had students go from station to station, and jot down as much information as they could in the form of a web. Judging by the excitement and discussion during the process as well as the end results, I plan on doing this a bit more often! I was happy to hear students reading to each other, correcting pronunciation, elaborating on thoughts and giving direction when needed. We will do the same thing for Ramadan and Christmas later in the week.

We are 2/3 of the way through our unit on digestion, but I don't think we will finish it completely before Christmas. I want to finish studying the process and components of digestion before Christmas, then talk about Nutrition in depth in early January. The evaluation for this unit will take the form of a presentation that incorporates elements like a song, poem or piece of theatre. Students have been commenting on their enjoyment of the games I posted last week, and I have been seeing the results in their familiarity with the topic.

I have decided to conduct a test to assess knowledge of the terminology and basic processes in our habitats unit. As mentioned before, we have reviewed and discussed this at length and I don't anticipate any problems. That being said, I will send home a study guide tomorrow to help students prepare. On the test, I will provide word lists and other choices. Still with Science, students will also be bringing home a survey about habitat loss and pollution that they have compiled as a class. They will each have 5 copies of the survey, and I will also send each parent a digital copy if you wish to email it to family/friends. The data gathered will form the basis for a project in math, and conclude our final requirements in Science before Christmas.

I know this is a lot of information, but I feel like I have been neglecting the blog as of late. Enjoy the holiday season, and let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime, here is a multiplication game to capitalize on the great work students did on patterns/factors last unit. It covers up some content on the right sidebar, but if you need to access links, just view an archived blog post that doesn't take up so much space.

**Please note: Multiplication game has been removed, since a glitch was redirecting things off the blog. I will post another one ASAP! **

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thoughts on a sunny Sunday

Just a few thoughts today, to get everybody up to date and set things up for the last couple of weeks before Christmas. The big things we will be finishing up are a piece of writing in French, letters to Santa Claus, Book Report Presentations and our habitats unit in science.

I have decided to have students write a test to cover the main concepts and terminology from science. This will happen later on in the week or maybe even on the 20th. We have been reviewing these things in class, so I don't anticipate many problems. That being said, I will be giving out a study guide ASAP.

Book Reports seem to be coming along well, and I am looking forward to seeing the final products on Friday. I will also give students the option of presenting earlier if they want to, in an effort to get everything done on time. Students will also be finishing up our diorama video, as I will have the computer set up with video-editing software so students can edit their own clips with my support.

There are no vocab words to learn this week; rather, I will be continuing to focus on concepts and rules such as pluralization and pronouns. I still want students to write in their Reading Journals nightly, and I will also be assigning a few questions to be done at home.

Enjoy the escalation of the Christmas season, and let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A few games for the weekend

Before I sign off for the night, here are a few pertinent games for the weekend if anybody (heaven forbid) gets bored before class on Monday. They are all in English, but provide good review of some key concepts.

The first is another digestive system game and quiz.

http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/health/anatomy/digestion/digestion_tutorial.htm

This next link focuses more specifically on the nutrition component of our current chapter in Health.

http://www.nutritionexplorations.org/kids/nutrition-main.asp

As we start to move into the part of our Social Studies curriculum that will deal with Canada's geography, culture and history, I would suggest trying out the games on this page.

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/kids/games/default.asp

Moving Day

The title of this post refers to a great activity we did this afternoon. I had students use a model to design new ways to lay out our classroom. Shelving, desks, computers; all mobile and represented by small cards on the whiteboard. This brought in problem solving skills of a high degree, as well as plenty of French vocabulary related to relative position, action words and contingencies.

Today's math test and spelling activity went well, as I had expected. The usual wrinkle here or there, but overall the class more than lived up to the high standard that I have come to expect. It seemed as though the class really took some of the pointers on their report cards to heart, and have a renewed focus. Math tests should be discussed, signed and returned by Monday.

As has become my habit, I will post a short update tonight and take the chance tomorrow to expand on some thoughts and outline the upcoming weeks. I did not assign any homework over the weekend, since I am sure things are very busy at home. Also, please check out last Saturday's blog post if you are looking for some fun family Christmas activities this weekend.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back in the Beachy Cove Groove!

It was nice to get back in the swing of things today after a day of "Teacher School". I was able to download the software I needed to manipulate our class videos about our diorama, so (barring the potential snowstorm) we will be able to edit and publish the video tomorrow! Today we had lots more math and science review, as well as plenty of time for reading and writing in French and English.

I will post more later on, but have some Christmas "have-to's" to complete right now. I feel as though a line-up at Costco is in my future... In the event of a snow day tomorrow (notice the new background?), our Math Test and spelling words will be deferred to Monday. Students should start working on Book Reports if possible, but I will give more class time as well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flying under the radar...

As you may know, I spent today at a professional development function in support of the implementation of our new Social Studies curriculum. There were some great ideas floated at the meeting, things I hope to incorporate into the class over the next couple of months.

I also had an opportunity to share some of the things we have been working on (namely our Exploration activity and some mapping games), which got a great response. The other participants were impressed by the effort students put into the project, and were curious to see more.

Parent-teacher meetings went very well yesterday; I appreciate so many parents showing up for meetings. I will have a much longer update tomorrow once I am back in class, so talk to you then!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ode to Room 110

In hats and mitts and scarves and warm knits,
they come piling in through the door.
Shoes are changed and the desks re-arranged
as agendas and books hit the floor.
We jump right in but it's time for Gym,
so the pencils fall like rain
And it's hard to read a book together
with recess on the brain.
A crossword puzzle! That should work,
to soothe our addled minds.
Yes that's the trick; but they finish too quick,
onto work of another kind.

"We'll do some math!" I quickly say,
and try to make everyone care.
So we forge ahead with thoughts of dread
as Pattern Blocks fill the air.
"You can take it home if you didn't get it done,"
their faces all turn queasy.
Then as quick as that the task is complete;
Mention homework, and work becomes easy!

Then out through the door to the winter winds' roar,
I have fifteen minutes to recover.
Then a deluge of students and one scraped knee,
then another...then another... then another.
There are fish to feed and comics to read,
and puddings to drop on the floor.
Not to mention the chorus of "Can I go pee?"
every time I get near the door.

We dabble in Science and Religion and French,
progressively getting more wise.
In Health, we go through the digestive system
faster than a Big Mac and fries.
We talk about grammar and spelling and style,
I'm feeling that I'm quite profound.
I can picture my Teacher of the Year Award,
when someone says "Sir, what's a noun?"

They're a wonderful lot, this class that I've got,
and they smile as they're put through their paces.
No matter the task I know they will last,
with grins on their angelic faces.
Tomorrow I meet with their parents and families,
then Wednesday they're back at my door.
Congrats to all and good luck next term,
I couldn't want anything more.

A lunchtime update

Just so I don't forget, here is a link to some logic games. I have introduced the concept as a problem-solving strategy, and the students really enjoyed them. There are lots of other good games on this site as well.

http://www.thekidzpage.com/learninggames/logic_games/index.html

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday fun for the whole family

If you are looking for something to do with friends/family this weekend, here are a few ideas.

  • Check out a performance of Bella's Tree at The Rooms on Sunday. Written by local author Janet Russell, this book won a Governor General's Award. The performance features local performer Jody Richardson, and should be an amazing show. Later that evening, make your own Christmas decoration! Details at: www.therooms.ca/family_fun.asp
  • Check out the annual reading of A Christsmas Carol at Gower Street United Church in St. John's. The performance features many CBC celebrities (Alan Hawco, anyone?) and only costs $10 to get in. Show starts at 7pm tonight.
  • Go see More Munsch!, a play that tells 6 of Robert Munsch's favorite stories. It is running at the Arts and Culture Centre Basement Theatre until the 19th. I have seen it other years, and it is a ton of fun for the whole family (And cheap). Call the Box Office for details (729-3900). Also playing at the ACC is Scrooge, which should be a great spectacle. Again, box office for details
  • Giving Back is an afternoon event taking place at the Fluvarium every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 until December 18th. It is a family event that helps kids and their parents make gift-giving more "green". 
I'm sure there are lots of other activities on the go, but these are a few that caught my eye. Have a great weekend!

**Update**

If you are interested in all things crafty, I would suggest you go see the "Comfort and Joy" show at Devon House, the Craft Council gallery across from the Sheraton. There is an open house today and should be lots of fun, with lots of great locally-made gift ideas.

**Update over**

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Report Card Day!

We had a good day today, lots of excitement and apprehension as would be expected under the circumstances. We took plenty of time to talk about evaluation and talk about the self-reflection we have carried out, as well as discussing how report cards "work" and how the information should be used. Above all, I congratulated students on their achievements. We have been setting high goals and expectations so far, and I marvel each day at how well all students are performing. All parents, families and students should be very proud, and looking forward to a great second term.

Students have been given the task of picking out some strengths and weaknesses over the weekend, and writing the results in their Journal de Questions. I would encourage you to help them with this activity, extending on the conversations you will already be having about the marks and comments on their report cards. I hope to use this feedback in Tuesday's parent-teacher meetings, so the more detail the better!

A few pointers, then I'm off for a reporting-free weekend!

  • We covered more math today (Lesson 6), so students can finish up to Lesson 6 in their math review.
  • Students' 200+ word Book Report synopsis is due Thursday
  • Don't forget to sign up for parent-teacher meetings at www.parentinterviews.com/beachycove. Parents can check their email for notes on how to sign up for back-to-back slots. Please contact me if you need to be accommodated in any way.
Again, congratulations to students on a great job and have a fun weekend.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A new chapter

Anticipation of Christmas and report cards is quickly building, as we move toward Christmas vacation. There are only 14 school days left before our winter holiday if you can imagine! Today we began a new read-aloud, since we have finished up Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. We are reading I Want To Go Home, a great book by Canadian author Gordon Korman. It is a long-time favourite of mine; a very humorous, engaging book with great characters and stimulating dialogue and vocabulary. We covered the first few chapters today, and will be responding to it as we go along.

Gym was outside today, and will be for the next week or so as Christmas Concert season hits full pace. I have advised students to dress warm for this reason. We played soccer and 4-square, and I think the fresh air did us well for the rest of the day. The class spent more time working on a survey they will bring home for science as well. The survey focuses on habitat depletion, and will hone their research, information gathering and data management skills. These surveys will go home on Monday.

A memo went home today, giving details about signing up for parent-teacher interviews on Tuesday. You can sign up for back-to-back slots by altering your child's name slightly for the second slot. For example, enter Bob Jones for the first slot, then Bob V. Jones for the second one. If you are having any problems, please let me know.

Tomorrow we will be moving on to the second-last unit in math, and finishing up brainstorming for our French stories. I have also been taking the time this week to use our morning "Saviez-vous que?" sessions as a lesson in grammar or style when speaking french. This has ranged from simple things like pluralization and masculine/feminine nouns to more complex concepts involving verbs, adjective placement and advanced grammar.

I think everyone will be happy with Report Cards tomorrow. We have come a long way this year, and continue to move along every day. In your child's Report Card envelope, you will also find a letter from the principal and a copy of your child's Grade 3 CRT results. As always, if you have any questions please get in touch with me. Talk to you soon.

Today's update coming soon

I had a few errands to run this afternoon, but will have a post up in the next couple of hours.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let the pandemonium begin!

I don't think there is a saying that December "Comes in like a lion and goes out like a lion", but there should be. I guess there is now! We kicked off the day by talking about students' plans for December, focusing specifically on Christmas Eve traditions. The class did some journaling on the topic, and we incorporated that activity into some adjective and verb-based activities for our current process-writing project.

We are nearing the end of our science unit on habitats and ecosystems, and will finish with a project on habitat preservation. Students are preparing lists of perceived threats in our province (from oil and other large-scale projects to urban sprawl and water pollution), and will build a survey that parents and friends will answer. This will wrap up a few outcomes related to process and information-gathering, as well as pointing out the many viewpoints on resource management and preservation that exist in a community.

We took a huge leap forward in math today. Students took the idea of a repeating pattern and applied it to finding missing information in equations. For example, students solved a problem wherein a number of bags of strawberries per week were being taken from an initial supply of 77. They were told how many were left each week (77, 73, 69, 65, 61...) and asked to figure out how many were being taken away each week using an equation. They learned that this can be written 77 - __ = 73, and used their strategies to figure out what the missing number was. In this case, they would use a number line or subtract 73 from 77 to get the answer, 4.

The main thing I am looking for is that students are able to explain what they did, and why. I am trying to focus more and more on this element of our math curriculum, since a profound understanding of why will serve them much better than memorizing answers. For that reason, when working on review sheets I would ask parents/guardians to make sure answers are written completely and that the actual question being asked is answered.

We talked about 1st Person and 3rd Person writing today, and did a closing exercise with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Students chose a character and wrote from their point of view. It is an advanced skill to empathize with another character and try to see from their perspective, but the class really seemed to enjoy it. I would encourage you to discuss the idea of perspective in writing when your children are working on book reports, reading projects or story-writing at home.

A few last notes:
Have a great day, and please take a few minutes to check out the following sites. The first two are activities related to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz214462188e618.html

http://www.quia.com/jg/312916.html

This next link deals with food webs, an extension of the activities we have already done on food chains. We created our own large food web together in class last week, so students should be familiar with the idea of Primary Producers, Primary Consumers and Secondary Consumers. Also, remember what direction the arrows point (the same way the energy is moving)!

http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/food/food_menu.html

The final link deals with climates and habitats, and is found on the Canadian Geographic Kids website. It is in French, hooray! There is a game in the bottom right corner, and audio tools as well.

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/cgkidsatlas/francais/geographie.asp

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Addition

Click to feed our new fish, or watch them follow the cursor!

...but the fire is so delightful.

Just a quick post today, I had some snow-related running around to get done. We had another whirlwind day, moving forward in some key areas. To sum up:

  1. I gave out math review sheets for this chapter (patterns) that can be completed in the same fashion as previous chapters. I have finished evaluating the math DuoTangs, and will bring them in tomorrow to put these sheets into.
  2. We finished Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing today, and I sent home their worksheets to get signed. Each has a detailed evaluation rubric attached, and should be returned (signed) tomorrow.
  3. Book reports are coming along well, and we have started writing a new process piece in French. This means brainstorming, pre-writing, drafting, editing, etc. 
  4. We are moving along quickly through the digestive system (no pun intended) with the intention of working on a big project that will encompass all we are learning.
  5. Music classes will not be going ahead as scheduled as we are leading up to Christmas Concerts, so I will be conducting some music activities in class. I welcome any suggestions from students or parents about activities that would be fun. I also would encourage any student to organize to bring in an instrument they play or a piece of music they enjoy.
I have finished compiling the corrected rubrics from November's book reports, and will give them out tomorrow to any students who had requested them. Also, I have put together a list of all the useful websites I have posted in the last couple months. If you would like a copy of this list, please email me. 

Sorry for the brevity of this post, I promise I will pick it up tomorrow! A final note; please send in completed School Council surveys tomorrow as well. If this is the first you've heard of the survey, please check your child's agenda.


A fun site for parents and kids alike.

I just came across this site, and wanted to share it right away. It has plenty of its own activities, games and diversions in French and English, targeted at kids as well as parents who want to improve their French. I will make it a permanent link in the right sidebar as well.

http://fslactivities.ca/

Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Poor old Dribble, and other news.

Day 1 is generally a very productive day in our class, since we do not have Gym or Music. Provided we stay active enough to avoid the inevitable Cabin Fever that ensues, we usually get a lot done and have a chance to focus on our work for a longer period of time. Today we focused heavily on math, language arts and french in an effort to kick-start some new projects and bring others to a close.

We saw the last of the November book reports today, both very well done. I also met with most students to get the name of their next book and make a plan for their project. I have asked any students that did not finalize a plan today to come back tomorrow with their book and an idea of what they would like to do. Some students also said they want to finish reading their book before they make a final decision, which I highly encourage.

The 200-word synopsis that each student must write before starting their project is due next Thursday, but many have already begun. I have asked students to meet with me before moving past this stage, to make sure that we address any challenges they are facing. This meeting will also help make sure the type of project they have chosen is appropriate for the book, and allow us to set some goals.

We finished reading Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing today, and will continue doing some closing activities throughout the week. Students really liked the book, and it offered an opportunity to analyze many of the story-writing and reviewing techniques that we are trying to build this year. I hope to see many of these skills in their book reports and process writing that we are working on before Christmas.

We continue to work on patterns in class, which students really seem to be enjoying. I think this might mean it's time to launch some problem-solving work that can be done in spare time and at home, perhaps on a weekly basis. I will investigate this idea further tonight, and update further in the upcoming days.

A few notes:
  • Students brought home a survey from our School Council today. They are gathering information to support an anticipated proposal to establish an intermediate school in the area, so I appreciate you completing and returning it.
  • I am finalizing a new daily class schedule that will go home soon.
  • Scholastic should be here before long (I think both orders are being sent together).
  • Please continue the Count your Blessings activity as outlined on our school's homepage
  • If you haven't already, please take the time to go watch the preliminary videos of our diorama that Mr. Dawe posted under Videos and Podcasts on the Beachy Cove homepage. The full, edited version narrated by students is coming along well.
Have a great week, and speak with you soon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More updates on the Beachy Cove Elementary Homepage

Mr. Dawe has added a couple more videos, with a few edits still to come. His clips give a good overview of what we did in class, and features many of our classmates.

The link is

http://www.beachycove.ca/Beachy_Cove_Elementary_School/Videos_%26_Podcasts/Videos_%26_Podcasts.html

The fully edited, student-narrated video will be available by the end of the week if all goes well with the rest of the activity.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Saturday afternoon update

Our principal Mr. Dawe has posted a couple videos he shot of our diorama with explanations by some students. They were pretty excited, and I'm glad Mr. Dawe posted them. You can access these videos later today by following the "Videos and Podcasts" link on the school (www.beachycove.ca) homepage.

A blustery Saturday morning in St. Philip's

As promised, here is a bit more info on what we have to look forward to in the upcoming weeks. There will no doubt be time lost to Christmas Shenanigans (concerts, activities, etc.) over the next while, but I have some high hopes about what we might be able to get done in the meantime. Book Reports, Reading Journals, Words of The Week and Math Review will continue as usual, and we will be moving into a few new projects as well.

I hope to do a fun project in the next couple of weeks, that will have students going on a Scavenger Hunt in the Library, Computer Lab, classroom, and a few websites. I think that a next step for many students is to hone their research and communication skills, and I think this would be a good way to do it. I will also be sending home more questions in their Journal de Questions over the next couple of weeks for the same reason.

We spoke as a class on Friday about ways we can continue to improve the experience in our classroom. I let them know that I was very happy with how things are coming along, but also that I think individual students have to be more accountable for their own behaviour. As in any classroom, we tend to lose time when transitioning between activities, getting ready for class, or due to interruptions. I can see students getting frustrated when this happens, and many students voiced this opinion on Friday.

I think it was a very constructive conversation, and I will keep you up to date on how it is going. The class is very hard-working and considerate, and I think they will embrace the challenge to show this even more. Students seem to really be enjoying our current program of studies, which helps keep them engaged (and thereby on-task!) As always, I welcome suggestions of activities or projects that you think may engage your child within our curriculum. For reference, feel free to peruse the Curriculum Guides on the right sidebar of my blog.

Students' individual Art DuoTangs are coming along nicely, and quickly accumulating work. I hope to have time this week to sit down and make individualized plans with some students, in an effort to have them create works of art that harness their efforts and talent while creating a detailed, coherent final product.

Having given Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's Christmas album it's first listen of the year, I'm off to tidy and start decorating. Have a great weekend and don't hesitate to be in touch.

Enjoy some classic Christmas TV! As a side note, the picture I posted earlier in the week of a young man in a clear-cut was a photo of me when I was a treeplanting foreman years back. The picture of the snow-squashed tent in this post is from that same year.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What a day!

With our diorama days now behind us, we move on to bigger and better things! We shot a narrated video of our project today, and did a presentation to Ms. Godden and Mr. Dawe. I think the whole class is pretty proud of our accomplishment. The video will be edited over the next few days, and hopefully ready for mass consumption before long.

Over the weekend, I have asked students to do a few things to prepare for next week:
  • A math activity involving patterns and a 100-square
  • Pick a book for the December book report to show me on Monday
  • Prepare for Count your Blessings (See school website)
  • Play the digestion games I posted this week on the blog
Have a great time this weekend, and I will probably see a few people at the Santa Claus Parade. I will create a longer post tomorrow, so please check back in for more updates and info. Here is a great new clip to ease you into the weekend




And another, just because 'Tis the Season....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A late-night update from Room 110

Just got back from Beachy Cove Night at Chapters in St. John's. Great to see so many familiar faces around, and I got a great new comprehensive Atlas for class. Many students have shown an interest in geography and other elements of Social Studies not contained in the curriculum, so I hope this valuable (French-Candian, no less!) resource will allow them to explore their interests. We will be moving on to World Studies after Christmas as well, so it will come in handy then.

Tomorrow we will create narrated videos to explain our large-scale diorama, from the beginning stages of our exploration to the actual mechanisms we used to create the elements and overall project. I am very happy with how this whole Drama in Education program worked out, and can't wait to share the results with the rest of our school and family community.

Tomorrow we will see the last of the November Book Report presentations, and I will give more detail on our presentations for December. I think students will be very well equipped to create even more fantastic reports this month, and can't wait to see what they will come up with.

Further updates tomorrow, thanks for hanging in there!

A busy day

Today's post will be coming later, since I have an appointment at 3:30. We had a very successful day finishing up our diorama, discussing politics and enjoying Music, Gym, Library Time and a lovely concert courtesy of one of the students in our class.

More details later, hope to see you at Chapters tonight.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Now entering a construction zone: Hardhats Mandatory


After having put in a few great days of what I call "Pen and Paper Work", I sprung a fun project on the class today. All afternoon (and continuing into tomorrow) we worked on constructing the 16th Century fishing village we have been exploring in Social Studies. Using more materials than I can even think of here, we have constructed a 3' X 4' diorama with all the important things we have been studying. This includes infrastructure like fishing stages, houses, cannons and schools as well as strategically placed mountains, rivers, harbours and otehr landforms.

The class has done a great job so far, from delegating jobs to staying on task and making the items we need. I have been documenting the progress so far, and we will create a photo/video tour after we have finished the project completely. If any parents are interested, feel free to drop by immediately after school on Thursday or Friday to view the finished project.

We also started talking about the digestive system today. We looked ahead in our books a bit, and had some great discussions to assess what we already know and review some useful vocabulary words. I think it stirred an interest in nutrition that I have already noticed in class, so don't be surprised if your child is currently in the pantry analyzing the sodium content of the Alpha-Ghetti. We will be planning for a class project on the digestive system and metabolism/nutrition before Christmas, so I encourage any and all discussion of the topic at home.

A few notes for the week, then a couple of new links:
  • I have had a few requests for corrected Book Report rubrics. These will be prepared for tomorrow.
  • Your child has a letter explaining the Count Your Blessings project, which should be in their Agenda.
  • Correspondence is now being sent home with only the youngest member of each family at Beachy Cove Elementary.
  • Scholastic orders should be in soon, I have been reassured. Also, backorders from the Book Fair should be accounted for by now.
  • The class pet is fitting in nicely, but seems to be a slow learner. It turns out Goldfish are not the best at multiplication.
Here is a link to a fun game that outlines a lot of the important elements we will be studying in health this chapter. In this game, you are a sandwich travelling through the digestive system.

http://freegames.1up.com/games/digestivesystem.html

This second game has the player put parts of different systems in place. You need to have the volume up to hear instructions. Some of the vocabulary might be new, but it is pretty fun anyways.

http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/systems.html

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A busy week at Beachy Cove Elementary

We had another very busy day today, focusing on several larger-scale projects in both English and French. 3 more students presented very high-quality Book Reports, and we began a fact-finding project about the animals from Salmonier Nature Park. The class is moving along quickly through our Novel Study, and will be starting a unit on Digestion in health tomorrow.  I have a few fun projects up my sleeve for this one, and will keep you updated as much as possible.

A few notes for this week:
  • From 7pm - 10pm on November 25th, Beachy Cove Elementary will receive 15% of sales at Chapters in St. John's. I would suggest that any parents/students/family members/friends looking for books as gifts or for themselves take the opportunity to support literacy and fundraising at BCE. I will be there for part of the evening, probably hiding in the self-help section.
  • BCE's Count your Blessings project continues, with full details on the BCE homepage (http://www.beachycove.ca/)
  • Please continue to review Multiplication Facts at home, using the strategies outlined on the sheet I sent home and/or the games on my blog. Don't forget that all posts I have ever put up on the bog are available in the archives on the right-hand side of the page.
I wanted to mention a few things about my attempts to corral the creative outputs of my class over this week. Many students enjoy creating drawings, cards, comics, stories and other artwork during their free time or after they have finished their work. I wholly encourage this, but it has a tendency to get spread around. So, I have given each student a DuoTang to store their artwork in and asked that it be at school each day to collect their work. I also plan on using these DuoTangs to help plan class art projects and focus students' efforts on finished products and improving their skills.
 
As with the last book reports, anybody who would like a copy of my evaluation for their report can get one if they ask. It takes a few minutes to type up a "good copy", but just let me know and I can have one ready the next day. 

We had a great discussion today as a pre-evaluation for an activity about the usefulness of waterways such as lakes and rivers. It centered around the Lower Churchill project, and we discussed lots of elements from our social studies and science curricula. The class showed great interest in talking about sustainability, monetary and environmental costs, as well as how our use of water has changed over time.

This rolled over into a written activity, which I evaluated on the spot and gave feedback on. In general it was very well done, and served as a good reminder that there are still things we all have to focus on. I would suggest that if you are working on projects at home, students should pay close attention to reading for detail, copying words accurately, and showing good use of punctuation and capital letters.

A great day all together, here's to another tomorrow! Buddy Reading, here we come.

Monday, November 22, 2010

C'est l'hiver!

Well, that was a more wintery morning than I had been expecting! The chill in the air did nothing to dampen spirits though, as we had a whirlwind of a day in class. We have finished up most of the first unit in science, and our third chapter of math is well underway. We are also 1/3 of the way through our English novel study, and should finish up our Drama in Education program tomorrow.

There will be time for several more students to present their Book Reports tomorrow, and the rest of the presentations will be on Friday. I have asked those who finished their Reports early to hold off on starting December's Book Report until Friday, because there are some points I would like to review. Go ahead and start reading the book you would like to talk about, but wait until Friday to start the report.

We took a few minutes today to discuss the setting of our current Novel Study book, Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing. It is set in New York, so we talked about where that was, and eventually went on Google Maps to get a street view level of some of the places the narrator/protagonist discusses in the text. This was a point of great interest, and something I would encourage students to explore more at home.

If they are interested, have your child show you where 25 W 68th Street is, in New York. This is the supposed address of the book's narrator. They might also remember some other landmarks we looked at, as well as some rules about how New York is laid out.

We will also be making the juice that is described in the book, and making a diorama of the neighbourhood. I really like tangible activities like this, and I'm always open to suggestions.

In an upcoming social studies lesson, I will be sending students home with a sort of treasure hunt that they will have to complete using a map, their own knowledge and the Internet. They will find and describe locations, buildings etc. in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's and beyond, so I would suggest that you encourage any interest your child has in using maps or programs like those found at local.google.ca.

I have to run, but will post in more detail tomorrow. Have a great day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-CHANGES!!

We have really come a long way this week, and I really want to take the chance to get everybody up to date. I have struggled to post very much at all over the last couple of days, since all final marks for the first reporting session were due this week. It is a difficult task, but was made much easier by the process of having students give feedback on their portfolios and become more engaged in the evaluation process. Anyway, all that is behind us for now and I can't wait to move along with our curriculum.

Our Drama in Education program will be concluding next week, as landfall is made in Newfoundland and the settlement is established. After extensive planning, calculation, mapping and site selection, our intrepid explorers have settled on a community and will create a final project on Monday to show what they have created. I think the class will be excited to show off their final results. Once this project is complete, we will be moving on to another Drama in Education project centered around the idea of planning a modern community and addressing concerns related to business, leisure, sports and other concerns that our class finds interesting.

We have moved into patterns and repetition in math class now, and have already done a few interesting activities. The first stages focus on using charts and tables to identify patterns and continue them. These exercises are very closely related to the work we are doing with multiplication tables, so I would suggest that students start reviewing techniques for solving multiplication facts in earnest at home. If you need any extra tools or techniques, please let me know so we can keep up the pace. We are also reviewing multiplication tables in class on a weekly basis, and there are plenty of links in other posts from this blog. Also, the right sidebar has a number of math sites linked.

There has also been a slight change in the way we will be carrying out our incentive system for French-speaking in class. The system of self-policing worked alright in some cases, but was causing more conflict and headaches than I was comfortable with. For that reason, I have asked students to privately let me know of any classmates who consistently speak English during Recess and Lunch, so I can police them myself. I have also let the class know that I will be taking away their privileges to contribute in class if they make the choice to speak English when it is not appropriate. This has been well-received, and I think it has reduced tension as well as increasing the amount of French being spoken.

The paragraphs I have instituted as a replacement for weekly dictées also seem to be going well. It gives students who have been studying hard a chance to really show what they can do, including grammar and verb conjugation as well as just knowing the words. For those who aren't as comfortable writing in French, they have the option of just writing the words. I am happy with the results and progress so far, and thank parents/guardians for supporting this learning at home.

We have also addressed the idea of personalized projects in class over the last couple of days, and the response has been very positive. I have given the option of doing individual projects, or working on one large group project with individual roles assigned. I am okay with either option, so at this point we are discussing the pros and cons of each. Some students already have specific ideas of what they would like to do, but I have asked them not to get started until we have time to set up a structure and procedure for the project. This will take place in the coming weeks.

A few notes, then a couple of fun links for the weekend:
  • Picture re-takes are on Monday.
  • I don't have a computer at home over the weekend, so I will not be able to respond to correspondence as quickly as usual.
  • One student has started a journal to monitor the progress and growth of his new puppy. This will replace his Journal de Lecture for as long as he wants, although he will still be reading nightly. If anybody else is interested in a similar option, please let me know.
  • The class has taken a sudden and all-consuming interest in speaking, writing and reading backwards. I think this is an interesting novelty, and would love to do some fun language activities on the topic.
  • Have a great weekend! Good luck at the hockey tournament, boys.
Here is a video that shows a good example of stop-motion animation. This is something many students have voiced an interest in doing as their independent project.



Here is a link to a fun site that someone directed me to the other day. It suffers from the odd pop-up ad, but has lots of fun games, links and lists for those who enjoy playing with words.

http://www.fun-with-words.com/index.html

Here's another good site (Funbrain) that has plenty of games related to things we are doing in class. I would suggest looking at games to do with spelling and vocabulary, as well as patterns and multiplication. You can specify different subject areas, age ranges and difficulties.

http://www.funbrain.com/cgi-bin/getskill.cgi?A1=gba&A2=9&A7=0

Away we go again.

After a brief period of blog silence yesterday (I got quite literally into the 11th hour), I'm back and happy to say we have had a great week in class. Book Reports are getting done, French speaking is at an all-time high, and we're well into our 3rd chapter in math.

I will post more at the end of the day, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew I was still alive and the class was still progressing. We have started an English novel study, and I will begin launching some individual projects for students looking for a challenge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Merrily we roll along

Not much to mention today, as things were pretty much taken up with our Anti-Bullying activities and more self-reflection. We also started talking about Tales of A Fourth-Grade Nothing, a story we will be studying over the next number of weeks.

The only homework tonight is to keep reviewing Vocabulary and Verb Conjugation, and write in their Reading Journals. The 200-word summary and plan for book reports are due on Friday (or tomorrow, whenever they are ready), so we can move right along with them. The work I have seen so far looks excellent.

I also want to congratulate the class on their participation, behaviour and attitude at today's Anti-Bullying activities. They were very organized, sang beautifully, showed a lot of respect for other speakers and presenters, and truly represented themselves well. I appreciate the effort, and I could see their were very proud.

I will cut this post short, since I have several reports left to finish and a short time to do them! I am out of email communication this evening, but will respond to any messages sent tonight before class tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The big picture

Quite a busy day again today, with lots of reflection, singing and dodgeball. You know, just the essentials! The class spent a whole hour in choir, preparing songs for tomorrow's Anti-Bullying rally. The songs sound great, I can't wait to see them tomorrow. We also did lots of work to prepare portfolios and reflect on them, an activity that provided lots of good ideas and opportunity for improvement.

Students also completed some sheets that reflected on the relevance and importance of reading, writing and other skills. These will be benchmarks for the rest of the year, and we will refer back to them often. It was nice to have a chance to sit down and talk one-on-one with the students, and find out what they are interested in. I continue to be amazed by the variety of interests and skills in this class.

All parents will be shown these portfolios at parent-teacher meetings, and invited to read their child's reflections and leave their own feedback. I think that this is a very constructive way to keep everyone in the loop, and help students drive their own improvment and success. Another point I have been impressing upon students is to start taking more ownership of their own schoolwork. This could include having your child take more control of organizing their homework and agenda, and providing incentives for taking initiative at home.

I have had a lot of interest in the idea of individually-tailored projects that can be ongoing over the school year. These will range from art-based projects to math, social studies and science, and should get rolling at the beginning of Term 2. I have already spoken to some parents, but if you have an idea of a home/school project your child would enjoy, please feel free to let me know. This might be a good time to have such a discussion at home.


As an example: One student will be carrying out a Claymation animation project. He will write a script, lay out stage directions, select camera angles and create clay characters and background to create a stop-motion animation. This project will take a long time and require many steps, but is something he is interested in. It has many stages and elements, some that can be done in spare time and others that can be done at home or in class.

If you are looking for ideas, here are a few thoughts to start with.
  • Family tree
  • Plant-growth science project
  • Community history
  • Photojournal
  • Diary/journalling
  • Building an art portfolio
  • Working for a cause (environment, culture, etc.)
  • Creating a book or comic strip
  • Developing math problems for others to do
I would suggest that the project be driven by the student, focusing primarily on one of their key interests. Then, we can tailor the project to take in a variety of curriculum outcomes. This is not a mandatory activity, but I am willing to accommodate as much as possible.


For tomorrow, a few notes:
  • Students should wear their pink Anti-Bullying T-shirts and bring a pair of sunglasses for their choir performance.
  • If your child has not brought back their signed math test, please do so ASAP.
  • I have both the Blue and Yellow DuoTangs at the moment, as part of the portfolio evaluations.
  • There is no Journal de Questions assignment tonight
  • Scholastic book orders are due by Friday
Have a great Tuesday night, and talk to you tomorrow. Please cast a vote in my weekly Poll (top right corner), thanks very much!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where is the time going?

Wow, incredible to think that we've already gone through more than 2 months of the school year. We're really moving along now, especially after a huge day today. Very productive, lots of fun, and the week has just begun! We began a new chapter in math, covered some details on data management, started book reports, worked on "Rubber Sentences" (ask your child), and much more.

The Stand up to Bullying rally is coming up on Wednesday, so I am taking the opportunity to focus on the nature of bullying and what causes it throughout the week. I try not to oversimplify the issue, since I think that risks demonizing the students who are so-called "bullies". By putting more of a focus on trying to include people, understand them and help them get along, I think students will be better prepared to deal with these situations.

Before I go on, a few housekeeping notes and important dates coming up:
  • I accidently sent home the wrong set of vocab words for this week, and mislabelled the verb as "AVOIR". That being said, I will stick with the words that I sent home and adjust next week's accordingly. Also, please change AVOIR to VOULOIR, as it is printed on the practice sheet
  • The students' 200+ word summary for their book report is due by Friday; if there is any trouble, please let me know.
  • Math tests must be signed and sent back to school by tomorrow.
  • Please keep working on Multiplication Facts at home. I am noticing big improvements in the class, and would like to keep the momentum going. Our new math unit focuses on patterns, which lend themselves very well to learning multiplication facts and strategies.
Besides sending home an Elastic Sentence to work on tonight, I have also asked students to talk to a parent, sibling, guardian, grandparent, etc. about a significant event from the family history. This could be something recent, or long in the past. Suggestions students came up with included moving to a new town, a car accident, a birth or death in the family, an ancestor who went to war, or a meeting with a famous person. I want them to think of something that affected their family specifically, for better or for worse. This will be used in an upcoming process writing exercise.

I'm off to finish up getting Report Cards ready, but don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Enjoy the chilly but sunny day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A little Saturday Morning update



What a beautiful morning in Sunny St. Phillip's! Birds chirping, the dog snuffling around the lawn; I feel that all is well. I thought I would put up a few links this morning, little tidbits that might help with studying, having fun and taking your French speaking and comprehension skills to the next level.

The first is a link to the events schedule at Ecole des Grand Vents, the French-language School and Community Centre on Ridge Road. They have a festival coming up next weekend, which has events like an open library night, music, French courses, kids movies and much more. If you are interested, it would be worth giving them a call (don't worry, you can speak English!) to see what you or your child might be interested in.


Here is another Grand Vents link. This one goes to the "Club de Samedi", a Saturday Morning activity group for students who want to improve their french and have fun. I think it might be too late to register for this fall, but it might be something to drop into, or think about for another term.


Here's a link to the pamphlet for Club de Samedi, in French.


I have also had a few questions about more home support resources, so here is a link to the Canadian Parents for French resource site. They have lots of great information, games, activities and other resources. I would suggest you explore it with your child sometime.


Have a great Saturday, and stay tuned for some more specific updates on our upcoming in-class activities tomorrow.




Friday, November 12, 2010

Making Icing: A Photojournal

I have a meeting at 4:15, so I will put up a longer post tomorrow. Overall a good day today, as we prepared for our next book reports and reviewed this week's spelling words. We also spent about an hour or more reviewing the critical elements of a story.

This transitioned into an exercise that had the students apply all elements of story writing to a simple sentence. The sentence was "The boy couldn't find his shoe anywhere". Students had to extrapolate this sentence applying what they knew about character, imagery, description, setting, plot, action, etc. So, they added details about where he lost his shoe, what colour the shoe was, why he only lost one, etc.

It was a great activity, and worth spending the time to make my expectations very clear. We will start writing a new story next week, so the page of terms and categories we developed in their Journals will be a good reference.

The afternoon was taken up by a fun activity. I asked the class on Wednesday what things they would like to do more of, and the feedback mostly centered around doing big projects, art-related activities, and food. So, that's what we did! I brought in chocolate chip cookies to decorate, and we made our own berry-flavoured icings. The idea was to create and follow a process and record data as we went along (consistency, flavour, colour, etc.)

The class created their own recipes, mashed berries, blended icing, made decorating tubes, named their flavours, and decorated cookies all afternoon. They also created colour-coded designs in their scrapbooks, and made extra cookies for the administration. I got a lot of pictures, so here is a breakdown of what we did. We will be turning the pictures into a photo-book that shows our process (including recipes).

Step 1 for Team "Mure Magnifique": Crush the berries!


Team "Bluet Belle" took berry-mashing to a whole new level.


Hey Team "Bluet Fusée"! What makes berries even better? "Icing!!!"


Team "Framboise Flamingo" was very shy...


Team "Fraise Supreme" told me they were inspire by Cake Boss.


A touch of "Mure Magnifique" for starters...


Et voila! Beautiful, tasty cookies.


We're not sure what it is, but does it ever taste good!


I will post some good links and give a few more updates tomorrow, but have a great weekend! Students have a question related to "The Witches" to ponder over the weekend, so no Journal de Lecture.

Good job, everyone!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day

Just a quick update today, as it seems I have been conned into painting some walls tonight. I'm on my way to buy paint I didn't pick out, to spend 3 hours I don't have to spare, painting walls I didn't even know existed... and we aren't even getting married until next summer! Kidding around, of course.

Today was a whirlwind of math, sandwiched between a number of activities that tied into Remembrance Day. The assembly was lovely, featuring some very heartfelt songs and a couple of very relevant, interesting speeches from members of the Legion and RCMP.

The math test results were very good; if you plan on debriefing tonight or tomorrow, here are some main talking points I would focus on:
  • Pay attention to the operation. The majority of mistakes were made when students misread or misinterpreted a question and added instead of subtracting (or vice versa).
  • Tidiness matters! Some errors were the result of not having straight columns, or misreading their own printing as they copied down a number to add or subtract
  • Read the instructions carefully. If you are unsure whether to estimate, add, subtract, round, etc. then look at the question again for clarification.
Tests were again marked out of 5, with a further breakdown corresponding to the categories they will see on their report cards. These are not the marks that will be appearing on their report cards, just a reflection of this test. As I always tell the students, tests are only part of the equation (terrible pun, I'm sorry). I get a lot more of my information from seeing how they solve problems, what questions they ask, and what approaches they use in class.

We discussed the idea of Entitlement today, in terms of being thankful for what we have. The class had a pretty good grasp on the idea, but I would encourage you to continue this discussion at home. We talked about how we aren't ever owed anything, and that all things we have (especially as children) are there because someone else thought about us and wanted us to have the best. This could be soldiers fighting for our freedom, a parent buying us food, or a friend helping us with our work.

 I gave them a question to work on in their new green notebook, asking them to reflect on 5 things they would not have (or be able to do) without someone's help. I am trying to carry this idea over into the classroom, as we discuss how to get along together and the importance of seeing the "big picture".

I did not introduce this month's book report due to time constraints, but I will do so on Friday. Please feel free to get started if you would like. Remember, if the first one was completed in English, this one must be in French. Also, students must choose a different medium. A completed assessment rubric is available for the first book report if you want to see it. Also, please sign and return Math Tests by Friday.

Have a pleasant Remembrance Day.

Sam Paterson

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Mathday Eve!



Tomorrow we will be having our "Real" Math Test, following the same format as the review sheets that were sent home and the practice quiz that was completed yesterday. After further review and activities today, I think we're in great shape!

The quantity and quality of French being spoken in class (and during recess and lunch) has been increasing continually in the past couple of weeks. My technique of Continual Correction (correcting error immediately, then having the student restate and continue) seems to be working well. Students are often correcting the error without my help, or another student is reminding them.

As this begins to flow more naturally and more bad habits are corrected, I think I will start to see a big improvement in writing as well. I am already seeing some upswing, especially in terms of things like pluralization, masculine/feminine distinction and verb conjugation. I'm getting a bit more picky about written work, and will not hesitate to have students re-write work if they are not completing it to the best of their ability.

If any of your children are in despair because of their French-speaking obligations, just get them to read this article posted today on www.cbc.ca.

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/11/09/bilingualism-alzhiemers.html

I was very impressed with the work students put in on their question about food origins last night. I realize this was a hard, large-scale problem, and was happy to see they had put a lot of thought into the activity. Today in class we added some volume to the results and created a multi-panel piece of artwork that demonstrates the trajectory from farm to table. Great work all around!

I elaborated on the idea of "Evaluation for Learning" today, and we completed our first Self-Reflection activity. The activity had the students rate themselves on a variety of attributes related to their interests, skills, self-discipline, motivations and self-esteem. This will be attached to their portfolio and updated each term. I am looking forward to sitting down with each student to go over their portfolios now that they have set a benchmark.

We finished reading "The Witches" today, which was exhilarating to say the least. The response to the story was great, and I think that the experience of hearing the story rather than having to read it alone allowed a greater depth of understanding. The class will be conducting an activity on Friday to demonstrate their understanding of the novel. On that same topic, I will be launching November's Book Reports tomorrow. Many students have already chosen a book and medium to use, and I will help out those who have not.
 
Captain Leonard LeBlanc visited today as well! In a continuation of our Drama in Education program, he had the class annotate two maps and decide which one would be a better place to establish their community in Newfoundland. I'm sure your child would be able to tell you the kind of things we are discussing in this project, such as resource use, protection from enemies, organization of a town centre, etc.

A few notes for tomorrow:
  • School Photo order forms are due back tomorrow. Please let me know if you need retakes; the date for these is on November 22nd.
  • If your child belongs to an organization that wears a uniform (such as Beavers, Guides, etc.) they can wear or bring all or part of the uniform tomorrow for our Remembrance Day Assembly.
  • Review of spelling words seems to be going well; we are using them daily and I am happy with the progress most students are making.
  • I will be revising the class schedule this week, to allow for more hour-long classes. Ideally, this will allow more indepth activities, as well as time for students to finish their work completely.
  • The class pet will be in place next week. I have been acclimatizing the goldfish at my house.
Have a great day, and Go Habs Go!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rolling right along

Today had a very heavy focus on getting everyone on the same page. It has been a busy, shortened couple of weeks and I was glad to have my full class for the first time in a while (3 weeks, excluding Halloween). There was a vast amount of math review including the practice quiz, a fun project about food management and supply, and we are nearing the exciting conclusion of "The Witches".

I don't have time for a long update now, but there are a few housekeeping things to mention:
  • Congratulations to those who completed the math activity I posted over the weekend; I saw the effect in the results of your practice quizzes!
  • Tonight's question in the green "Questions" notebook is "Where does my food come from"? The students have a brainstorming list we created in class about food supply, as well as a list that outlines what they ate over the course of a day. I have encouraged the class to find out as much as they can about the origins of their food, including packaging  and additives.
  • The math test has been postponed until Wednesday to allow for some more review.
  • Please continue to review verbs and spelling nightly; there will be an activity in class Friday to review these formally.
  • New idea for a multiplication game! Roll two dice and multiply the numbers. For added difficulty, add more dice or go for double-digits. I would suggest you discuss what patterns are apparent, and predict what numbers will be most common, etc.
  • It has been suggested that students, if they belong to some organization, wear a uniform for the Remembrance Day assembly.
  • Please continue to send in School Picture order forms as they are completed.
  • Scholastic should be here by next week, they have sorted out the mistake with our order.
Please don't hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun Math News Flash!

I'm on break at my PD day here at Beachy Cove, but had to post a fantastic link. I came across it last night, and thought it would be great review (and lots of fun), especially for those who have finished all the math review questions. You will be taken to a page called Math Journey, and asked to customize the types of questions that students will have to answer. I would suggest you select Addition of 1-4 digit numbers, Subtraction of 1-4 digit numbers, Multiplication of 1-digit numbers, and Rounding to 10, 100, 1000 and 10,000. If your child feels comfortable with harder applications, feel free to go for it.

The site can be found at www.quia.com/mathjourney.html

What I would like students to do is keep track of what cities they travel to, and post them in order as a comment on this post. To do this, click on the title of this post (Fun Math News Flash) then go to the bottom of the post and look for "Post Comment". Make sure to include your name. This is not a mandatory activity, but I thought it would be a neat challenge and a fun game at the same time.

Enjoy your weekend!