January 29, 2015

We've started work stations!

What a great afternoon we had on Wednesday! On Tuesday, I announced that we'd be starting Work Stations. We'll have a second go at them on Thursday, just so everyone can have a chance to really take them for a spin!   

It's the perfect time of year to begin this new chapter in learning for a number of reasons: 

  • the routines and procedures are well established and followed 
  • students are working very well independently 
  • I know my students well and can create stations that support their learning needs  

Each Work Station is about 15 minutes long. After each Station, we meet back at the carpet to share new learning, any problems that came up and then determine where everyone goes next.

They're a super-fun way to learn and our goal is to have Work Stations about once a week.


January 22, 2015

Aloud vs Allowed

I think the boys and girls have the whole aloud vs allowed rule down pat, but we had one more go at it today to be sure!

January 21, 2015

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Update: Apparently the video has been taken down from youtube. I'm so glad we got watch it. I'll keep up the link/post just in case the video is restored. 

The boys and girls are very interested in our discussions about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

The boys and girls are enjoying reading the books in our
class library about the Civil Rights Movement.

To provide them with an age-appropriate look at the life and influence of Dr. King, we watched a very special video this morning. 

I promised students that I would share it on the blog so that they could watch it again. 

Hello Pioneers!

We began the next phase of our Social Studies unit today. We've moved from talking about the First Nations people and their contribution to our Nation's history to the arrival of the Early Settlers.  Recently, we've talked about: 
  • the Loyalists 
  • the Monarchy
  • the Irish Potato Famine
  • the American Revolution 
Today's mini-lesson was jam packed full of all kinds of interesting stories. Many children had lots of follow-up questions too. We had some really rich conversations!  

Before the lesson even got started, I had them fill in the first part of this graphic organizer. I thought it would be fun to revisit them in a week or so, and have the boys and girls add their new learning so they can see firsthand just how much more they know. 

January 16, 2015

Friday Funnies

I've been encouraging the Student of the Day to bring in a little something to present to the class at 2:00 pm. The kids are loving it and it's really sweet how they'll ask the SOTD in the morning, "Did you bring anything for your 2:00 prezzi?"  

We go alphabetically by first name with Student of the Day and we're back at the top of the list on Monday. 

The Student of the Day is responsible for all of the classroom jobs such as attendance, Prayer leader, Morning Message reporter, etc. It's also great way for me to be sure each child has their turn at all the classroom jobs because for one day every few weeks, they own it! 

Today's 2:00 presentation featured Tristan's alligator head from Florida.  While it was being passed around, I heard some of the funniest comments: 

"You can start it on the other side of the classroom so I can think about whether or not I want to hold it. Plus, I think I'm allergic."  

"I'll just touch it with my pointy finger."  

"Oh look, he has a cavity!" 

"The eyes are looking at me."  

In Math today, we took a poll. I asked the boys and girls to vote for their favourite type of chip.  One of the options was "other" and I explained to the kids why we must always offer that when creating a poll where there are an infinite number of choices. This was one of the focuses of my lesson today.  

Before we tallied the votes, I had the following conversation: 

Me: Which chip do you all think will be most popular? 

Kid A:  Doritos

Kid B:  Salt and Vinegar

Me: Really? But when you eat Salt and Vinegar, your mouth gets all sore from the vinegar!


January 15, 2015

What's an RRWE?

An RRWE is a reading-response with evidence question.

Students are learning that when they write about their reading, in most cases, they'll need to provide evidence from the text to support their ideas.  

This will also assist the boys and girls in Math when they are asked to "explain your thinking".  

Asking students to provide evidence from the text teaches them to think critically about what they've read and to assess that information based on whether or not it suits their needs. It also allows children to use what they already know about a subject and choose information from the text they deem appropriate to help support their opinion or idea. This all helps students to prepare for later grades and assignments where the evidence gathering process can be the biggest component of their assignment. 

Not only does this process of responding to RRWEs help children to think more deeply about a text, it will assist them when it comes time for them to write their own stories and reports.   

At this grade level, all RRWEs begin the same way by stating the purpose for writing: Today I'm going to tell you____________. From there, students move on to providing evidence for their ideas or opinion. They cite the text by writing: I know this because in the text it says ____________.  

At this point, students provident the necessary evidence and then conclude their paragraph with a closing statement: Now you know more about ____________.  

The next step in this type of writing is for the student to include their own additional information. We call this "adding a plus". A plus is any relevant prior knowledge the student might have about the subject.  I'll post later on about RRWEPs or reading-response with evidence-plus questions. 

You can read more about plusses here, in a post from last week.  

What's a plus?

January 13, 2015

Baby it's cold outside!

We're just about finished our procedural writing for how to get dressed for winter play and I couldn't be more pleased! 

The boys and girls have really made an effort to use the feedback from their Mrs. Claus paragraph AND add plusses to their work. I had suggested on Monday that the kids might like to add some humour to their writing and they haven't disappointed!

I can't wait to send them home for you to read!

As students complete their work, they bring their little booklets over to me and we have a mini-conference. I read the paragraph aloud and together we talk about strengths and next steps.  

One area we're going to focus on as a class is around punctuation. The kids have the whole "period at the end of a sentence rule" down pat.  Where we need to focus on is a new punctuation pal: the comma.  Because the kids are producing more sophisticated writing, with lots of compound sentences, I want to teach them how they can use the comma to communicate more effectively. They'll learn that the comma is more than just the guy that goes between a list of things. 

It's really exciting to watch their skills develop and grow because that helps to drive my instruction. For the next few days, (see what I did there? I used a comma!)the focus will be on the comma, but who knows where we'll be after that!  

Congratulations to all the boys and girls on a job well done! 

January 12, 2015

New Photos!

We have some new photos to share! 
These are from our Fun-Friday on January 9, 2015.  As you'll see, this activity was a huge success!  

January 10, 2015

Unit Three: Geometry Test Study Guide

Students will write their Unit Three Math test on Wednesday January 14th. I have created a checklist that will assist students in preparing for the test.  

You can print a copy of it by clicking on the link below the picture. 

January 07, 2015

Social Studies Mini-Lessons

Our Social Studies mini-lessons have gone very well this week! Just ten or so minutes a day and I'm able to deliver the essentials and give the boys and girls a chance to explore the questions they have and how we can find the answers.  

While I won't deliver the entire Social Studies curriculum this way, it's been fun to pick up where we leave off from one day to the next and then continue the conversation. It's also a great way for children to demonstrate both their listening and oral expression skills.  

On Monday, we focused on Trading Posts. Then on Tuesday, we continued that conversation and the question was raised, "Why DID people come to Canada in the first place?" In addition to a desire to explore new lands, we talked about those individuals that came to Canada for their own safety.  

Today we began a conversation about the Irish Potato Famine of 1845. The boys and girls were really engaged throughout this conversation and I loved how disappointed they were when I told them that it was time to move on to the next part of Morning Message! 

Tomorrow, the kids will learn some of the theories around how the Potato Famine started (that was the big question today).  

I know we'll have to complete our Learning Journal at some point, but right now, I am finding great value in the discussions we're having. It's exciting to let the children's questions drive the direction of the lessons. Plus, at just 10 or so minutes a day, it allows for greater continuity, which I think benefits children in understanding what can be complicated information. 

January 05, 2015

An nice easy start to 2015

The boys and girls worked really hard today on a booklet I created to celebrate the New Year.  

It's full of all that good stuff to review after a break. A little Math, a little reading/writing and then some reflection and goal planning. It's a great way to get everyone settled back into the routine without feeling overwhelmed.  

Students will bring home the booklet on Tuesday and then again on Thursday to complete for Homework instead of a Practice Page.  

Welcome Back!

Did everyone have a wonderful break? Mr. M and I spent it in Fort Myers, Florida and enjoyed catching up with my brother and his wife Christina. 

I was able to read lots, shop a little, and enjoy the sun. Just as we were wrapping up our trip, all of the Snowbirds from the north were arriving. It was so fun to watch everyone get reacquainted. Listening to them all talk with great enthusiasm about their grandkids and the snow they were dodging was really sweet. 
No chimney, but Santa still found us!

Christmas in Florida is certainly different than Christmas up here, but no matter where you spend it, it's always a wonderful day when you enjoy time with loved ones, great food and special traditions. 

And now we're back! It's time to get back on track, so to speak and we have a whole lotta work to do in Room 208 in order to get these chickadees ready for Grade Four!  

This week, we'll ease back into our routine for the first day or two, but then we really get things rolling with creative writing, a new math unit and a new approach to our Social Studies unit. There's a lot to cover in Social Studies and I'm thinking some kind of "daily commercial" would help the kids learn what's needed and give them an opportunity to explore questions they have. This once-a-week-lesson-thing isn't really working for me. We'll try this out and see how it goes. That all gets rolling Monday (January 5) 

I can't wait to see the kids today!  I hope they are as excited to see me as I am to see them! 
I think whether you live up here or down
there, we all deserve this! 


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