Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 1 = Day Fun

Wow, the puns are really going downhill these days. Seriously though, Day 1 (as today was) is a great opportunity to have fun and get some things taken care of. We have no out-of-class activities, so we can really get into a project or lesson and have some fun with it. Today that included math, social studies, french and English language arts, and a fun trip to the Learning Resource Centre.

In the LRC, we went on the computers to start building a database of useful websites and resources for our personal projects. This was a great way to teach about techniques when navigating the Internet, something that is becoming an increasingly important part of kids' skill set. Many students already have extensive experience with computers, but others are still getting the hang of it. I heartily share the school board's philosophy that teaching students to process, evaluate and use information is becoming every bit as important as having the knowledge in the first place.

The class also took some time to set their Week 2 goals for their Becoming an Expert personal project, so they can get back at it tonight. All written and organizational materials should be brought to school each day so we can work on them, and I will keep them one day a week (usually Wednesday) as part of my ongoing evaluation of the project. Great work so far!

We had a good discussion today about what students heard on Radio Bell Island, which branched off into a writing exercise and a discussion on the importance of local tradition, history and knowledge. I know there were some bandwidth problems and time constraints last night, but I have encouraged students to listen in again tonight. This will help us compare different episodes of the show, which is an important part of our critical literacy programming.

Report Cards go home tomorrow, so I will have a couple fun little things scheduled for the class during the day to take the pressure off. The class is generally pretty laid back about evaluation, which I hope is a result of the time we have spent talking about authentic assessment and goal-setting. Regardless, I remember the tension of Report Card time quite well and certainly empathize with students and their families. In advance of Parent-Teacher interviews next Thursday, we will be reflecting on each student's portfolio during the week. To that end, I would encourage you to discuss your child's report in as much detail as you feel comfortable, focusing on what they feel their strengths are and what goals they would like to set for the rest of the year. They are certainly in full swing now, and I can't wait to see what they will come up with next!

I am out of town this weekend, but can still be contacted by email if you have any questions. Take care, and here's hoping we've seen the last major storm for this year.

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