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.

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)!

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.

Have a great Wednesday!

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