January 28, 2014

Why post the Math Learning Goals?

Now more than ever, school is an interactive place. This means teachers are integrating technology into their lessons, but it also means that home-school communication is elevated to a new level. I mean, that's why this blog exists: to keep students and families in the loop and up to date. It's all about creating a more enriching learning experience. 

By sharing the Learning Goals for our Math lessons, you're able to see first hand, what was on the list to be covered today. You can then support your child in your own ways at home.  

Perhaps this means practicing time-telling skills on the way to practice in the car or playing a mental math game during dinner. By having the Learning Goals of the day in your back pocket, you not only know what was covered in class (especially helpful if your child was absent that day) but you can extend the learning at home in ways that work for you. 

Tuesday's Math Learning Goals

January 27, 2014

You gotta hook 'em!

As part of our Writer's Workshop, the boys and girls have now learned five new ways to begin their paragraphs. We call these "hooks". A hook is a lot like a fishing rod, without the right bait, you might not catch the fish you're hoping for.  If a writer is looking to have their work read and enjoyed by many people, they too need just the right bait. 

An effective hook grabs the reader's attention and makes them want to read your work.  

The boys and girls have viewed a Powerpoint presentation I made to explain the five different hooks and the pdf below is for the student to keep in their Personal Dictionary for future use. Most of the hooks have a little set of rules that need to be followed, so having a chart like this is helpful. The students are not expected to memorize the rules for each individual hook.  

The 5 Hooks (pdf)

With five great new ways to begin our creative writing, there's no stopping us now! We're going to take our writing to a whole new level by adding hooks to all of our creative writing assignments from now on! 

Monday's Math Goals

January 25, 2014

Indoor Recess Fun!

We've had a full week of indoor recess due to the cold, and while I pride myself in having lots to do for my students during these times, after a full week, even I must admit, some students might be getting a little bored. 
So on Friday, I came up with an activity for the boys and girls to work on. To compliment our graphing unit, I presented them with some data based on our favourite t.v. show, Full House

I made a quick video to help explain just what this was all about!  

January 24, 2014

We're never "board" in 208!

Ask any Grade 3 teacher in Ontario and they'll tell you that one of the challenges of teaching an EQAO assessment grade is covering 10 months worth of curriculum in just 9 months. We have to get creative and we don't have a lot of time to spare. Sometimes this means doubling up on Math units or disguising what looks like a super-fun activity as a highly education one! 

Over the next few Fun Fridays, we're going to learn all about Probability. Probability is the last unit in the Math program (Unit 11) and needs to be covered on an "as we go" basis. Doing so keeps us on track to have the entire Math curriculum taught by mid-May. We've done lots of Probability in our Morning and Math Messages, but we're really taking it up a notch today! 

We've spent this week talking about the features of board games and now we're going to create our own. The boys and girls will each receive a template from which to work and then it's time to plan, plan, plan, their fair game.  

In the slides below, you'll see some of the features we've discussed so far. I'll be looking to see that students are planning a fair game, using their logical reasoning skills and applying the points we've discussed this week.  Be sure to check back for updates! 

When the games are finished, we'll have spend an afternoon playing one another's games!


January 23, 2014

Is it trash or treasure?

In our Writer's Workshop today, the boys and girls participated in Part 1 of my lesson on Trash or Treasure from The Write Traits program.

For a teacher that always asks her kids to add more detail, it seems pretty odd that we'd now start talking about less useful details or too many details.  We call those details "trash". I know...it doesn't sound very nice does it? The details that are essential and very interesting, we call those "treasures".  

Whether you're a writer who writes books or a writer who writes for television, you need to include interesting treasures to keep your audience engaged.  

This week, we watched a very  funny commercial and the boys and girls were asked to share their favourite treasure from them.  
Our next step was to look at a paragraph about the T-Rex and sort the facts into "trash" or "treasure".  

From there, we'll write our own sophisticated and engaging paragraphs filled with all kinds of treasure-y details!  

One of the best commercials for talking about treasures is this one:  

Little Darth Vader 

January 21, 2014

The Boy on the Porch

We recently finished reading the wonderful novel called The One and Only Ivan and what a fantastic book it was.  It's a tough act to follow and my hope is that the boys and girls will enjoy our new novel by Sharon Creech called, The Boy on the Porch

We had started another novel by an author that usually writes for grown-ups, but decided to give children's writing a try, and ugh...not a good fit for us.  We gave it a fair shake and then I came upon this story. We're off to a great start and I hope we continue to enjoy this new literary adventure together!  

Tuesday's Math Goals

We're getting ready for our test on Thursday! Today we reviewed our booklets (there's two small ones) and our attribute folder. Both items are coming home and can stay home to assist with test review.  

We talked about the importance of using Math vocabulary when writing about what we interpret in a graph.  

We talked about the biggest mistake people make with pictographs: they don't look at the key and assume that one item represents one.  
I helped clarify anything that was confusing or needed further explanation (e.g. some children wondered if a survey was a graph-no, that's the data and that's what you transfer to the graph). 

We also kicked off our lesson with some number games we've been playing for the last few days. These games rely on mental math skills and help students build logical reasoning and over all number sense skills. 
According to the book I'm reading, if you don't have number sense, you will really struggle with math, regardless of the type of problem. More on number sense in a future blog post.  

Postmodern Jukebox

We were inside for recess today, so to add some fun to our day, we enjoyed playing name that tune to Postmodern Jukebox's music! 

Try it yourself here...do you recognize this song? 

The Story of My Life

Please don't read this poem!

We're having a ball with this week's poem! I believe it's the longest one we'll do this year. I'd like the boys and girls to focus on reading with more expression for the next month or so in their home reading. This means they'll need to read aloud to either an adult or older sibling.  

This week's poem is a great one for practicing oral reading because the speaker goes through a range of emotions. They start of neutral/slightly concerned, move on to feeling frustrated, then super-angry, and then finally, acceptance. 

When reading this poem aloud in class each morning, we're really focusing not so much on the usual aspects of the text (e.g. compound words, fancy words, parts of speech, etc.) but rather, reading so that we really sound like the speaker. 

We're going to talk a lot over the next few weeks about the importance of being an entertaining and effective oral reader and this poem is a great place to start! 

January 20, 2014

Let's write!

Now that we've mastered procedural writing, we're going to move along in our Writer's Workshop and focus on adding lots of interesting details to our paragraphs. We're also going to look at way authors "hook" their readers right from the start with a great opening.  

Today, we talked about thinking about the questions our readers might have about our topic and then going about answering those questions.  

You'll notice the writer left out one important detail:
the name of the hockey player! 

Monday's Math Learning Goals

Because it fits so nicely with probability, we're going to spend the next few weeks looking at different "Valentine candy- related" scenarios. To start, I showed this slide to the boys and girls and explained that it is equally likely to choose any colour of candy from the bowl.  

Starting tomorrow, we'll look at different bowls of candy where it is more likely, less likely or impossible to choose a specific colour. Students will be expected to use the related vocabulary when explaining the likelihood of selecting a candy from the bowl. 

January 17, 2014

A Proud Sister!

Some Friday sunshine! 
My brother, Paul Colontino is the Head Coach of the Robert Morris University Women's Hockey team in Pittsburgh and he's having an incredible season. 

As a proud "big sister" I can't resist sharing this article with my blog visitors.   
From Pushover to Powerhouse!

A lovely morning!

Just taking a moment at lunch recess to tell you what nice morning we had.  We wrote our POTW test and then went to Library. After that, we took up our Math booklet.  This mini-booklet focused on picto-graphs and bar graphs.  We had a great discussion about the data and it turned in to a really rich learning opportunity for all.  
It wasn't anything fancy, just sharing our answers and looking at my copy of the booklet up on the Smartboard, but it's funny how from the simplest of tasks come the really meaningful learning opportunities!  

January 16, 2014

A Graphing Anchor Chart

Types of Graphs

This is not my photo or chart. I found it on Pinterest.  We looked at the chart today as part of our Math message and I promised the boys and girls that I would post it tonight to help them with their Practice Page. 

Today's Learning Goals in Math

Talk about getting value for their buck! We have a lot to cover in today's Math lesson! 

January 15, 2014

Wednesday's Math Learning Goals

I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone does on that first goal today!  It's going to be a real noodle scratcher! 

January 14, 2014

January 13, 2014

Guess who this is?

Parents, would you ask your child to watch this short video?

We are about halfway througheading The One and Only Ivan, is a true story.  It's been such a wonderful and memorable journey; this book, and the fact that it is a true story...I get goose-bumps.  

On Friday, I told the children that sometimes when I'm reading the novel to them, I feel like I might cry. I'm not sure if I have the words to paint a picture in your mind for this one, but you know how the Muppets would all nod and look approvingly at each other at the end of one of their numbers? Well, that's what my students did on Friday when I said this.  They get it. And I love them for it.  

Can I keep them for another year? 

I would love it if the boys and girls could watch this two minute video of Ivan in his zoo habitat, after he was moved from the mall where he lived for most of his life.  

What a beautiful story and a wonderful way to cap off our school year.  

The One and Only Ivan

More about Ivan here.

January 09, 2014

"Graphing In"

As part of our Data Management unit, kids graph-in (think "sign in") at the beginning of each lesson for this unit.  
After all class members have graphed in, we discuss the data using mathematical vocabulary.  

Here is a video from last year that demonstrates how we graph in. 

Graphing In

January 06, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! 
Welcome back! Did you have a great Christmas? Did you enjoy time with your family and friends? Did you do like me and skip breakfast, lunch and dinner and go straight to dessert?!  

I hope you all had a wonderful time and I wish you the very best of everything in 2014.

So last night I had a problem. Yes I did. It was 1:45 am and I still hadn't fallen asleep. Not sure why though. It might have been the large coffee I asked Mr. M to pick up for me on his way home from Canada Tire (as my girlfriend's late Grandfather calls it).  But come on...surely a coffee at 2:00 pm wouldn't couldn't keep this hard-core caffeine addict from sleeping. Could it?  

Anyways, as the minutes ticked on I was starting to wonder how this was all going to look in the morning when I great my chickadees for the first time in the New Year. It just doesn't look right if I'm relying on the chalkboard to hold me upright!  

And then I remembered who I was dealing with.  

You see, Room 208 is a very special room filled with very special kids. You come in here and you're all *energized*. How can you not feel instantly lifted when you are surrounded by smiling faces who are just as happy to see you as you are to see them! And they do it all without coffee!!!

We had a great day today and although I'll likely be asleep by 6:00 pm tonight, I couldn't be more thrilled to start my year with such an uplifting, delightful group of kids.  


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