Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another 2 days in the competent hands of Ms. Bishop

From what I can gather, the students had a great time over the last couple of days when I was gone. They seem to have gotten lots done under the tutelage of Ms. Bishop, a former MUN classmate of mine. Personal Projects are ticking along, students continue to improve the quality and quantity of their written and oral French output, and my desk has never been tidier!

As I mentioned in Monday's post, we are moving into a time of the year that will require several pieces of formal evaluation. The first of these is a math test, scheduled for next Wednesday (April 6th). This will incorporate elements from the whole unit on multiplication, and I think the class is well-prepared. As usual, I have sent home the requisite review sheets to be completed by next Tuesday. Many thanks for doing so much work with your children at home to get their multiplication "mental math" skills up to and beyond par. This has been a huge help in class, and allowed them to move into very interesting and stimulating activities over the last couple of days.

Today for example, we worked on a big multiplication table. This was completed individually and as a group, and showed all products from 1X1 to 9X9. I have included a blank version of this table in students' Math DuoTang, which they should be able to fill in themselves. Seeing the table in such a large, coherent format allowed us to pick out dozens of patterns that emerge when multiplying, which helps the information on multiplication "gel" much better.

After we had time to mull over these ideas together (for example that products of 9 always have digits adding up to 9, or that the pattern of "ones" digits in factors of 8 repeat every 5 factors), students carried out a "Mystery Number" activity. They had to give increasingly specific clues about a secret number, until we could guess it.

Let's say the number was 28. The first clue might be that the 2 digits in the number add up to 10. This eliminates many numbers, leaving possibilities such as 28, 55, 64, 46, 82 etc. By removing all that are not products on our multiplication table, it gets down to only 28 and 64. The next clue was that the number is even, which is no extra help. However, after getting the 3rd clue that 7 is a factor of the number, students were able to identify the number as 28. The class wanted to keep playing this game all day (Mission Accomplished), so it might be fun to try it out at home. It requires solid observation, recall of rules and lateral thinking, which are all important problem-solving skills we are currently working on.

On Friday I will be taking ample time to work on students' Personal Projects with them. Several students need help with specific tasks, and others need help proofreading or planning their next step. For that reason, please make sure your child brings all Personal Project materials on Friday. This may include a USB storage device, a video, pictures, etc. If something is stored digitally, you can also email it to me. The projects are going very well, and again, thanks for all the support at home.

One last note; on Friday I am meeting with a French Immersion Program Specialist from Eastern School District. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, whether a student, teacher, parent or friend, I would love to have some feedback to pass along during this meeting. You can either leave your thoughts as a comment on this post, or email me at . I would love to have your feedback on things you enjoy, improvement I could be made, what the blog is useful for, or anything else you can think of.

Have a good PD day off tomorrow, and speak with you all soon.

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