Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The school year is running on fumes...

Well, here we are close to the end of the year! Just a few loose ends to tidy up and the kids will be ready to trot off into their respective summer vacations. It's been a real pleasure to work with this class throughout the school year, and I'm amazed by their growth and current maturity.

We have had a few fun days, while still getting things done over the last week. We have built a robot, worked on SmartBoard skills and techniques, finished up our hockey pool and done lots of written work to get the kids tuned up for grade five. We have a couple more events and activities coming up in the last few days, so here's a heads-up.

  • Tomorrow we're watching a movie in the afternoon. We will be watching it on the SmartBoard with Mme Natalie's class, with snacks and drinks provided. I have invited students to wear their PJs, bring a cushion or pillow, and bring their stuffed animal along for the ride if they wish. 
  • Several students are bringing in things to show the class tomorrow and Thursday. This is welcome, just let me know first.
  • One student has already sent me a sound file that they created using iNudge (see my last post). Great work, Robbie! I welcome any feedback or creative output like this.
  • I will be trying to get the class outside at some point in the next few days, to make up in small part for the lack of a Sports Day this year.
  • Most students brought home at least some of their year's work today. I have asked students to bring in a fabric/reusable plastic bag to aid in the transmission of all this material. Trust me, they kept busy this year!
Thanks again for all your support this year; I can't wait to see the class back at Beachy Cove next year. I'll post again tomorrow, but feel free to email if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Some fun sound experimentation programs

We had some fun today with the SmartBoard, particularly with two sound manipulatives. Here are links to both.



Hope you have headphones for your child to use, and if not I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Canucks Waleyan Ne

We watched this at the end of the day today, as a way of cheering on the Canucks. It was created by 3 Punjabi Canucks fans from Vancouver, and shows just how popular and cross-cultural hockey can be! The kids had an impromptu dance party, something that I imagine will repeat itself if the 'Nucks win tonight.

If they don't, I will have to eat my words but at least I'll get to see the cup when it comes to Bonavista with Michael Ryder!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another sunny day

Hi parents and kids! I won't interrupt your sunny Tuesday for too long, so here are a few notes;

  • I reference a site in today's Agenda notes. This site is also linked in my last post. Please have your child practice their division estimation and calculation techniques. If you notice any particular issues, please let me know.
  • Tomorrow afternoon we are making "Fraction Pizzas", so I have asked students to pack a lighter lunch than usual. This will fill prevent them from crashing, but leave room for tasty, tasty pizza. They can also bring an apron or other cooking attire if they would like (yes Abby, you can bring your chef's hat)!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

News in brief

Today was another whirlwind, as we get things wrapped up before the year-end shenanigans. We were slightly sidetracked for the morning, but it was okay because THEY FINALLY INSTALLED OUR SMARTBOARD!


After I ran the necessary cables to connect it, we were able to do some fun work for the afternoon that built on our Canadian Geography and Math work. The kids were very engaged, and excited about the new element to our classroom experience.

Tomorrow will be another busy day, featuring presentations of our "Provincial Tourism" projects. Students will be using our new SmartBoard to highlight important geological, geographical, political and social elements of the province they were assigned. I can't wait to see the results.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Geography tools/games

I have assigned some online work for homework tonight, as we get further into our Canadian/World geography unit. This site has many games and quizzes about world and Canadian geography, some of which will be too challenging, and other very easy. I would encourage you to explore the site a bit and play some games, since we will be talking about this more in class tomorrow.
I would suggest scrolling down the page, as well as clicking on tabs such as "Quebec" or "Monde" on the top of the page.


This site is more geared toward open-ended exploration, and will help build students' understanding of vocabulary related to landforms, places and regions as well as their mapping skills. Click on "Click here to use the map" to open the necessary window.
Please have your child play around with the map a bit, since they will need to be familiar with it for our upcoming activities.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Hello public!

Hi gang, just a short post so I can get back out into the beautiful sunshine. First, some notes:

  • The school calendar was supposed to go home last week when I was out for a few days, but apparently didn't get distributed as intended. I will rectify this tomorrow!
  • Students performed very well on their Measurement test in math, so I will not bother sending them home. Full evaluations of students' Personal Projects will be available by the end of the week.
  • We are participating in Math Day early next week; I will be sending home a notice to let you know exactly when (although it looks like it will be Monday morning)
  • I will be posting frequently for the rest of the year, with a particular focus on websites and activities that will help students study material related to Canadian Geography and Multiplication/Division
In other news, our SmartBoard should be installed shortly. Yay! In an intentionally ironic move, I have been using the still-boxed SmartBoard as a bulletin board. Such amazing technology. 

We had a great chat today about moving on to grade 5, mostly focused on the added responsibility students will have next year. To that end, I stressed to students that they should keep their foot on the accelerator until the end of the year, and to try even harder to take responsibility for their own learning and achievement. They have all come so far, and I would love to see them close out the year with a bang. Speaking of which, I have several commitments that I still need to live up to. This includes a small hiking field trip, building a robot and having a pizza-making party. The latter will be tied to our recently-finished unit on fractions, and all should be done by the last week.

Have a great day, talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Satuday Update

So, here's a quick update to fill everybody in on the key things we will be hitting on over the last few weeks of the year:

  • I will be giving students a chance to earn their "SmartBoard" licences. Because of Beachy Cove Elementary's admirable focus and drive toward enabling this technology across the school, I believe most of the grade 5 classes next year will have SmartBoards in the classrooms. (A big thanks here is also due to parents and community partners, who have been infinitely generous and encouraging in the whole process of acquiring this technology). To that end, I will be spending time with students to give them a good base in SmartBoard hardware and software use that will help them become more comfortable when the start to use it in-class next year. 
  • We will be moving through 3-D geometry in the next few days (this is only a minor extension on work we have already done on geometry earlier in the year), and will then move into multi-digit multiplication and division. This will require some work at home, so I will send home some sheets to work on to support this learning.
  • The "homework DuoTang" concept seems to be working out very well. I am happy with students' progress, but would like to stress that it is very important to check agendas and make sure that your child is able to take the time to read the assigned article and highlight any things they do not understand.
  • Thanks for your help with the class's Musical Instruments projects
  • We will be focusing on landforms, geology and political divisions within Canada in social studies. The class seems to enjoy this type of material, and I have lots of fun activities to go with the subject matter.
Have a great weekend, and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

Friday, June 3, 2011

As the year winds to a close...

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, since I have been relying more heavily on email and personal contact as we move into the final hectic weeks of the year. This being my first time going through the year-end process, I'm amazed at the amount of work that has to be done to wrap things up. We have picked up the pace in a few areas of the curriculum, and brought some very interesting ongoing projects to a close. I am participating in an External Review today, so thought I would catch you up on a few things while I'm off for lunch.

We wrapped up our Personal Projects 2 weeks ago, with a grand day of presentations in our classroom. It was a chance for students to showcase all of there hard work, and to see what others had been up to. Although I had been quite involved in the classroom/conceptual side of the project, I hadn't yet seen what students were working on at home. I was, to put it simply, amazed by what I saw. The projects ranged from written texts to movies, with everything in between. There was a Japan-themed boardgame, a model CN Tower, a scale reproduction of the invasion of Utah Beach, and even Viking lemonade!

It was open to the whole school and parents, and the most frequent comment I got was that they were amazed that all students had started off with the same assignment. Each set goals, planned carefully, reflected and altered their ideas when necessary, and ended up with a very cohesive project that was a reflection of their interests, skills and expertise. Since the intent of the project was to maximize the use of students' abilities and differentiate my own assessment models, I think it was a great success. Students and parents embraced the idea, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

We had a great trip to the GEO Centre earlier this week, as an introduction to our final unit in science. We had a great time, and I think that the pace and focus of the lessons they taught had great effect on the kids. So many children in the elementary grades react very well to hands-on learning, and this was no exception. I wish I could do something like this for every unit, since it makes it so easy to reference concepts and topics when they have already seen and manipulated them first-hand.

Lunch is drawing to a close, but I will give a further update and an idea of things to come when I can post again later.