Friday, November 19, 2010


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.

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.

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