Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back on the blog!

After a lovely Christmas break, I'm back into full swing in the blogosphere. Today was the class's first day back after the holidays, and while we had the usual first-day sluggishness, we got into the swing of things fairly quickly. It was great to see the students again, and hear what they got up to over their break.

My initial concern was that the class' interest in French would have declined while they were vacationing, but they actually got back into things really quickly. The first order of business was to discuss the holidays, using our familiar verbs and tenses to tell what had happened, what gifts had been acquired etc. The activity was done as either individual journal writing or as an interview. I have been trying to give such options wherever possible, since it seems to help engage the class more completely and keep things interesting.

In the same vein, we carried out a response-writing activity based on a newspaper story about a group of women from Bonavista who have been doing missionary work in Uganda. I am noticing that the class has made great strides in their abilities to analyze text for content, meaning and style. For our next activity we discussed the idea of New Years Resolutions, and made our own related to school and our class in particular. It was a great way for students to set some soft goals, and also gave me some insight into their specific concerns and interests over the upcoming term. I would encourage you to discuss these goals and the idea of reflection and improvement in general.

We also kept working on graphing in math, again in partners. The next step will be to create our own material, using the surveys we sent home in Science and a booklet I made from sports pages in The Telegram. This booklet outlines the scoring totals and biographical information of all Newfoundlanders (past and present) in the NHL, and has been a source of great interest.

Buddy writing, some art activities and the beginning of a new read-aloud book filled out the day, and more! I am excited for this part of the year to get going, so here are some of the highlights coming up, and some areas I would like students to focus on.
  • Our next unit in health will combine fitness and nutrition, and incorporate elements of an ongoing CBC TV/radio/internet focus on youth and adult health/lifestyle.
  • I have been promised that the arrival of our (mine included) Scholastic order is imminent.
  • The next unit in science concerns light, which should give us lots of opportunity to experiment and have fun.
  • Students will be carrying out more self-reflection activities to be included in their portfolios, and will decide on the topic of their personal project in the next couple of weeks.
  • There is no school on January 13th, as noted on the January schedule that was sent home today.
  • Please work on multiplication facts at home with your child. If you would like additional resources to help with this, please let me know ASAP. It is crucial that math facts learning be supported at home in a meaningful (not rote-learning, if possible) way.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

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