Thursday, April 7, 2011

The glory and misery of the Hockey Pool

John and Kyle, this picture's for you...
 As the title alludes, we will be starting a class hockey pool in the next few days. I plan to have the draft on Monday, so will be sending students home with lists to choose players from over the weekend. It will be a neat way to teach media skills and work on some math concepts, and since it's just about all the class talks about it should engage them fairly well. I will send home full details with their "cheat sheets" tomorrow.

I have decided to push back the health test until the 18th at least, since we are not finishing the chapter before the end of next week. Also, the science test will be moved to Thursday, April 14th. We began our review today, in an activity that had students form an "anchor"group to brainstorm topics, then "jigsaw" with other groups throughout the class to fill out their list of terms and concepts. The last step was to return to their anchor group and finally share their ideas with the class. I have found that this helps the students take ownership of the information, and gives me a good idea of what might need elaboration.

Math tests went home today, with a complete answer key attached. This answer key also has hints about what steps they should take next in order to keep improving their understanding and results, which I think will be useful going forward. After the test comes back signed, I will give each student a copy of the answer key to use when studying for future math tests. The idea is to model a good answer more effectively, so that students will be 100% clear of the expectations I have for them. If you have any questions about test results, please let me know. Also, if your child isn't happy with their result I am willing to spend some extra time reteaching and offer a makeup activity next week sometime.

A note also went home today about a dance on Friday night. It is another benefit for the PCSP youth soccer team, and several students expressed interest in attending. All relevant details can be found on the slip in your child's "sac plastique".

In addition to the photography element of our ArtsSmarts project, we will be asking students to interview a senior member of the community and pose several guided questions. This assignment is not due for a while, so I will probably send it home on Monday. However, students may wish to start thinking of who they would like to interview. An accompanying letter with full instructions will be sent home with the project.

Becoming an Expert projects seem to be moving along well. A few more students handed in drafts for me to correct today, as I requested earlier in the week. The correction process is very fruitful for development of good editing, spelling and grammar habits, and has resulted in some great final products so far. I will also reiterate that students are welcome to stay after school if they need help or technology to work on their project. I need advance notice, but this process has been going well so far.

I thought it might also be interesting to list some of the cool things students have made so far, for inspiration and for interest's sake!The list includes:
  • A recipe for Viking apple juice
  • A Mexican "Ball and Cup" toy
  • A model of the CN Tower
  • 2 stop-motion videos
  • PowerPoint presentations about Australia, Building Techniques, Minor Hockey, Vikings and Animation
  • A virtual tour of China
  • A travel brochure
  • Hockey cards
  • Interviews with builders, animators, professional hockey players and their mothers
  • An SPCA-themed Bingo Game
  • A diorama of the D-Day invasion at Normandy
  • WW2-themed poetry
  • Texts about the history of Tokyo and China
This is a partial list, but gives an idea of the breadth of scope of this project. Sharing ideas each class has been a very useful enterprise, so hopefully posting them here will inspire some feedback and encouragement as well.

Have a great sunny day, and please contact me if you have any questions.

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