Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A shot in the dark?

We had the immense pleasure of being visited by the School Nurse today, as well as an entourage of other Community Health workers. Students were given their needles, which generally went quite well. There were a few tears and a bit of anxiety, but in general it went just fine. There may be a few sore arms tonight, as I heard a bit of moaning today. I scheduled a lesson on Terry Fox immediately after the ordeal, which seemed to help put things in perspective.

I have sent home a letter outlining the expectations I have for an upcoming math test. Our test on Unit 1 (Chapter 2 in the book) will go ahead later on next week, so I wanted to be clear on the expectations. This letter is in their Yellow Math DuoTang, third from the back. It details everything they will need to know. We also reviewed how to write numbers in French, and practiced by writing cheques. There are 2 blank cheque templates in each child's DuoTang as well, which you can do with them if you would like to.

On today's date in the students' agendas, I stapled a list of questions to use as test review. These are not to be done immediately. I think that doing a few per night would be good, as a way of getting them used to answering questions independently. If they have issues translating questions, remembering techniques or finding an answer I would first encourage them to look at examples on the previous sheets in their DuoTang. Then, rather than making it a stressful situation, I would leave it be and write a note in their Agenda so I can review it with them in class.

In other news, we are moving ahead with our Class Pet research. Tomorrow we will use some reference books to do fill in some trouble areas, then begin putting the information together. The students are very engaged in this activity, and would likely be more than happy to tell you about it. Some have mentioned that they want to look up more things tonight, which I would always encourage.

On that topic, I've been really happy with the response to my "Personal Question" that I have been writing in students' Agendas. All students presented a part of their information to the class, something that I have really been trying to encourage. The more they are interested in exploring and finding out at this stage, the faster we will be able to move along and the more detail we will be able to go into. I have given each a question tonight as well; some are specific to their interests, and others are more general. Any document, pictures or lists they make in response to these questions will be great class resources and useful as an ongoing record in their portfolios.

We discussed toy etiquette today as well, since there have been a few arguments and general rudeness when playing with toys and games that get brought in. I restated that I don't mind games coming in, but people have to be respectful, careful and polite when playing with them. The class is generally all of these things, but it bears mentioning every now and then I think...

We began writing our stories today, using the template of 5 elements from yesterday (Character, Place, Time, Action, Theme). The students are going to write a story in French first, then a different story in English that uses the same parameters. I want to focus on the process and structure of good writing, something which will be served well by limiting the distractions that usually arise from trying to think up these 5 elements. The class will be starting group reading soon as well, in an effort to help promote critical literacy. For those unfamiliar, critical literacy refers to reading for content, understanding and posing questions rather than just focusing on the literal text.

In a final note, I gave about 40 minutes today to finish up any leftover work. This was quite fruitful, as most students are now up to speed. Some will have a bit of work to do at home or during lunchtime (their choice) over the next couple of days, but nothing overwhelming. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we are getting a lot of things accomplished and seem to be on schedule.

Today's link gives practice math tests. Not all questions will be 100% relevant, but I would impress on your child that getting them all right is not the crucial thing. They are more useful as a diagnostic tool, to give them ideas of what to work on. I would also suggest that you look through previous math-related posts for some of the other ideas, activities and games I posted (search "math")


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