March 31, 2014

Non-Fiction Texts Part 1

This week, we're taking a really close-up look at non-fiction texts. Our Wednesday Workshop will focus on a non-fiction text and it's important to know about all the different features, not only for Wednesday but for future personal and academic success.  

For everyone's convenience, I'm breaking my Powerpoint presentation down into a series of videos.  Here is part one, where we talk about the difference between fiction and non-fiction texts and the ways we make predictions about the text.  

Non-Fiction Texts: Part 1

March 28, 2014

Practice Page #34

I don't typically assign homework over the weekend, so I wanted to give parents a heads up with the following blog post: 

Last night's Practice Page was all about warming up our minds with respect to Persuasive Writing. We've been talking a lot in class about writing detailed, high quality sentences/bullet points with respect to supporting our thinking. Last night's Practice Page was an opportunity to practice this skill.  

Last night, students were asked to create an idea web around the question: "What should our class pet be?" They were required to come up with four compelling reasons as to why their chosen pet would be a good fit for our classroom. 

Some children have been asked to redo this Page (#34) over the weekend. 

Some of the reasons for this are: 

  • the child may have misunderstood the activity's instructions (perhaps they thought they had to write about their favourite animal)
  • the reasons for their suggested pet lacked detail
  • the reasons for their suggested pet were not sufficiently persuasive
  • the quality of the work (e.g. printing) did not reflect overall classroom expectations 

March 26, 2014

I finally won a round?

Every morning, as part of Morning Message, we do an "Analogy of the Day" and it's not very often I come up with one the boys and girls can't solve! I have a group of great word-sleuths! They really know their stuff! 

We had lots of fun coming up with today's answer.  It took a few extra clues, but eventually they got it!  

I really thought I was finally going to get on the score-board here, but nope, they figured out the answer! 

The boys and girls got a kick out of this comic too!
We talk a lot about the importance of commas.

March 24, 2014

A great conversation!

We began our review of Unit 6 today in preparation for the test on Thursday and we had one of those awesome moments where one great lesson leads to another. 

We were discussing the importance of using the unit of measurement when describing temperature, mass and capacity. 

From there, we stared talking about how we measure food in terms of energy. That led us to a very interesting discussion about calories and how many calories are in certain foods. The boys and girls were surprised to learn that in one day (on average) they should consume between 1300 and 1700 calories.  

Then we broke that down into just what that looks like.  We talked about one donut being equal to about three apples and being careful not to drink all our calories via sugary drinks and soda pop. 

It was an fantastic discussion! Everyone was so engaged and interested in learning more. I think we'll continue our conversation in the future!

March 20, 2014

A Special Guest!

Mrs. Dawson,Director of the HCDSB, visited our class this afternoon!  I wanted her to see the wonderful and interactive way we start each morning, so we moving "Morning Message" to the afternoon. 

Mrs. Dawson enjoyed seeing how engaged and enthusiastic the boys and girls are about learning. During times like this, I get to see my students from a slightly different perspective and more proud I could not be. 

We were thrilled to welcome Mrs. Dawson to our room and we hope she'll come back soon!

March 19, 2014

Dance Lesson #3

We had our third dance lesson today and Miss Jackie very kindly allowed me to record the routine and post it here on the blog so that the boys and girls can practice their routine at home. 

We will continue to practice in class as often as we can, but it is essential that students practice regularly at home.  

Thank you to Miss Jackie for allowing me to record and post this video. 

Venus Flytrap Video

As part of this morning's lesson on the Venus Flytrap, I showed the boys and girls this video made by some botany students at the University of Wisconsin.  

In addition to finding the plant fascinating, the students also appreciated the music and how well timed it was to the visual aspects.  

Judging by how much the students enjoyed today's lesson, I'm thinking it's a good idea I didn't cover this right before Christmas, otherwise their lists would be filled with Venus Flytraps! How do you even wrap that???! 

March 18, 2014

Kilograms and Grams

This is a video I made last year for my students. It's from a now defunct "create your own animation" website that I really miss!  

If any blog visitors have a similar site they can recommend, I'd love it if you would share it in the comments. I'm looking for something that's fairly easy to use and it must also be free!  

The kids loved it and I hope you get a kick out of it too! 

The key learning I want the boys and girls to take from this video is that: 

  • it is essential that we use the correct unit of measurement as it relates to weight (or any math concept for that matter) 
  • there are 1000 grams in one kilogram
  • one gram is about the weight of one paper-clip 

March 17, 2014

March Break Reflection

The boys and girls worked on a "March Break Reflection" today and we came up with this great list of creative words to describe our time off.  

If you are a teacher or (or if your child was away today) and would like a copy of this Reflection, you can download one right here! 

March Break Reflection

March 04, 2014


We've moved on to capacity in our Measurement Unit.  

So far we've covered the following in Unit 6: 

  • the calendar
  • time
  • money 

We had a really great time learning about how capacity is all about what a container holds.
We went "grocery shopping" and looked at a number of containers and their measurements. We used milk cartons to demonstrate some common capacities.  We joked that without containers to hold our foods, yogurt and pudding would be very messy to eat, let alone pack in our lunches! 

Today's lesson was a continuation of yesterday's lesson about the litre and the millilitre.  
Here's what we covered/discussed: 

  • what does a litre look like? 
  • a litre of liquid will fill four of our classroom cups 
  • when we want to write "one litre" we write: 1L  
  • there are 1000 millilitres in one litre 
  • a quarter of a litre is 250 mL   
  • a tear-dropper holds 1 mL of liquid  
  • a bathtub holds 250 litres of water
I was really pleased to see the boys and girls using their counting by fours song to help them solve problems such as "If you had two litres of chocolate milk, how many classroom cups could you fill?"  

We'll continue our capacity/mass talk when we return from the March Break.
Memorizing this photo/fact is essential for
students to solve a number of problem solving situations
in this unit. 

The move away from Practice Pages

We're now on the other side of the hill, on our way toward Grade Four. In order to prepare the boys and girls fully for the workload and demands of being a Junior student, we've started to move away from Practice Pages and instead to "assigned work".  Sounds a lot like Practice Pages, I know, but I want to change the students' mindset about how homework works in future grades.

Practice Pages are handed out, assigned by me and there's a lot of "hand-holding" with respect to what is expected.  

To help the students to become more independent, homework on Tuesday and Thursday nights will start to include work that's part of a bigger task (e.g. "complete the web for a paragraph"). It will also include unfinished classroom work.  I'll always explain the assignment to the students, but gone are the days of reminding them to write neatly, in full sentences, etc. They'll need to apply this on their own and accept the consequences when they don't. It'll be more about acting as an independent thinker than it has in the past.   

We're not done with Practice Pages, I'll still assign those from time to time, but in order to set my students up for success in future grades, this progression is essential. This also puts a higher level of responsibility on students because there is a chance that without completing their homework (or bringing it back to school) the work period the following day could be effected. 

March 03, 2014

Today's Math Goals

Students are asked to memorize that one litre (1L) can
be divided equally into four 250mL cups.

Understanding the Four Levels of Achievement

The boys and girls are bringing home their feedback and score from their board games today.  To help them understand their score, I created a slideshow.  I wanted students to understand, in "kid language" the difference between each level.  


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