Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh No! The January Plague has hit!

Well, it seems as though the usual attack of influenza that hits schools this time of year is starting to rear its ugly head. A couple of students spent the day sick in bed, so I wish them all the best in a speedy recovery. Far better to take a day than to infect everybody else!

We have a great new fun activity in class, called "Geography Wars". I have matching French-language atlases in class, which allows the class to split into teams and compete to find information within. A lot of the questions I ask are specific to certain pages, tables, charts or maps in the book. My intention is to present the process and results of research and data collection in a fun way, and it seems to be a resounding success.

Questions range from geographical (What mountain range dominates northern India?) to aviary (What is the official bird of Guatemala?) to culinary (What are the three main ingredients in sushi?). The intent is not to memorize these facts, but to become familiar with the processes involved in finding them. By tapping into a bit of competitive spirit and camaraderie, it has become a much less daunting task.

We will be finishing up our math unit about data management and graphing before too long. Today we looked at Venn diagrams, a personal favourite of mine. These proved challenging, but I believe the class can see their usefulness when it comes to managing and classifying information. Parents, I will be sending home the chapter review sheets in Yellow DuoTangs by tomorrow.

We also started exploring our unit about Light today, in the form of a quick scan through the chapter headings and a discussion about what some possible answers to the questions posed might be. These questions focused on everything from the nature of light to movement, colours and collection for energy production. This was a good way to update our mental vocabulary lists, as well as highlighting (for me) what words need to be worked on a bit more. We wrapped it all up by drawing pictures of all the different ways light is created, harvested, measured and seen around us.

In social studies, I have been using the text book a bit more as a tool to develop students' skills in comparison, synthesis and application of information. Today we compared 2 stories; one about a recent 9-year old immigrant to New Brunswick and the other about the first female African-American pilot. The two stories had some similarities, and many differences as well. We broached the very dicey, heavy topic of racism in the context of understanding the challenges some people face, and how others in a society can make efforts to empathize with them and offer support. Students were a wealth of personal anecdotes and ideas, and did a great job on the activity.

I will remind parents in particular to check out the post from Saturday, since it contains a wide variety of useful sites, links and resources for the upcoming month or so. Students have also been assigned homework tonight, that being to find a graph in some sort of media. I have suggested that if they are having trouble, they can find one on a math site linked in an earlier blog post.

Talk to you tomorrow, and as always let me know if you have any questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment