April 29, 2016

Spring "training"!

Now that our more active season has arrived, it's time to revisit some specific skills. For the last few weeks, I've been reviewing with my class some friendship and recess basics. We want all children to enjoy their recess breaks and for some kids, this can be hard. 

We've started "spring training" in my class to help reinforce some of the ways students can make the most of their recesses and strengthen their friendships. 
Through discussion, games and role-play, we've reviewed the following: 

  • the importance of including others 
  • what does it feel like to be excluded?
  • "lightening up" when it comes to lining up (e.g  letting a friend retrieve their ball and hoping back into the same place in line without fuss) 
  • encouraging others 
  • working together for a common goal
  • using rock/paper/scissors to settle minor disagreements 
  • keeping teams fair 
  • inviting others to join in the fun
  • how to ask to join a game
Like any good team, we're going to carry on with our training so that we can have our best "season" yet! Please review these points with your own child at home. Consistent messaging is always the most effective tool when it comes to our children's education, both academic AND social.  

April 26, 2016

Welcome Miss Bryla!

We are thrilled to welcome Miss Jessica Bryla to our class this week! Miss Bryla is a third-year Concurrent-Education student at Laurention University and a graduate of St. Andrew's!  
She is hoping to become a Primary-Division teacher when she graduates.  
As a former student AND volunteer at our school, we are delighted to welcome Miss Bryla to our class in her role as a student-teacher.  We are looking forward to a wonderful week ahead!  

April 19, 2016

Hello from the other side.

One of the challenges of teaching Grade Three is that we must fit in all of the curriculum prior to writing those EQAO booklets.  One of the ways I achieve this is to use Morning Message and Math Message to provide mini-lessons on some of the concepts that we would have normally covered in June.  
One of those concepts is symmetry. We started talking about it last week and revisited it today.  
We know that symmetrical means each side is the same. 

How many lines of symmetry are in the word "hello"? 
In fact, if you somehow found yourself on a symmetrical island and you were waving and yelling "Hello from the other side." There would have to be another you who was also waving and yelling "Hello from the other side."  right back! 

We thought you'd get a kick out of the little video we made. 

April 15, 2016

Dance Time!

Thank you to our choreographer-extraordinaire, Miss Jackie for allowing me to film our dance routine the other day so that students can practice at home! 

April 14, 2016

Interactive Clock

As part of our review for the Math test on Friday, we played around with this interactive clock on the Smartboard.  
The boys and girls might like to play around with it themselves at home to help them prepare for the test.  
Click on the link below to go to the clock's website! 

Interactive Clock

Partner Problem Solving!

We've done all kinds of bake-shop problems to help practice our money and computation skills, but now we're taking it up a notch! 

Students are working in pairs to create their *own* bake-shop problem. This is waaaay harder than it sounds, as some of the boys and girls are learning!  

It's a great way for students to practice their problem-solving skills and to work collaboratively. It's really impressive to see how well they work together and show respectful and accountable communication skills.  

April 12, 2016

Good questions!

One of the best ways for students to improve their reading skills is to read aloud to an adult each night. Throughout the reading session, the adult should pose a variety of questions to monitor the child's comprehension.   

I found this very comprehensive list of questions that would support this activity and keep the conversation interesting and dynamic. This is not my document, but I do find it very useful. 

This activity should only take about 15 minutes a night, but the benefits can last a lifetime.  Talking about what they read is one of the best ways for children to not only demonstrate comprehension but it's also a great way to develop critical thinking skills. 

Comprehension Questions

As always, we continue to talk about what fluent readers do, and by reading to an adult each night as described above, students would also be able to practice these skills pictured below.

April 06, 2016

Radu's Problem (Wednesday Workshop)

We had another Wednesday Workshop yesterday. We focused on responding to multiple choice questions and reading response questions where students must use evidence from the text (I refer to them as RRWEs). In some cases, students must also use their own ideas in addition to the evidence from the text (I refer to them as RRWEPs-the "P" is for plus information).

I've selected a tricky reading activity from the 2008 EQAO Assessment. The story is called "The Snowman" (see link to document below) and the questions posed are excellent. Students must use their higher level thinking skills to respond them. These are definitely "thick" questions.  

Our Wednesday Workshop will extend into Thursday so we can invest the time required to solve what we call "Radu Problems" (problems where you have to give a gist answer). Radu was a character in the story and it was thanks to his quick-thinking skills that the problem was solved. 

Have a look at the photos below. These are the slides/charts I've shared with the boys and girls to help explain gist answers. 

Providing a gist answer really develops the type of critical thinking skills that are especially useful in future grades.  This is an area we will focus on for the rest of the year.
The Snowman (click here)

April 05, 2016

We've taken a detour...

You know when you go on a road trip and you see a billboard that advertises fresh pecans from Georgia at really cheap prices and you love pecan pie, so you get off the highway because the place looks really close by and then you soon discover you've just added three extra hours to an already really long drive to Florida because it wasn't really that close to the highway after all?  

Ya. We're not talking about that kind of detour here.  

Today we're talking about what good teachers do. Good teachers know that sometimes the best plans come at 5:00 in the morning while you're waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. 

So with that in mind, we're  taking a bit of a detour in our writing about Dave (see post from yesterday).  I'm sick of winter and I got the impression on Monday that my students were too.  Since we're moving toward creative writing in our writer's workshop, I thought to myself, "What would happen if we wrote a thank-you card to winter and then wished it on its way?"  How much fun would it be to say thanks to winter for some great memories, but find a polite and friendly way to say: you must go now?  

So that's what we started today! The boys and girls are working on letter writing, using brackets to provide extra information, along with adding humor to their writing buy telling a season to ease on down the road, so to speak.  

I can't wait to have my students share these cards with one another. Judging by their enthusiastic pencils this afternoon, I think they're going to be great!  

Have a look at my sample pictured below, along with my super non-pinterest-worthy instructions in red marker:  write two things you liked about this winter and one "off you go now" sentence, also be sure to use lots of brackets to 'whisper' extra information to your reader.  

April 04, 2016

Do you know Dave the chickadee?

You're going to get to know Dave the chickadee over the next few days! The boys and girls are going to use all the creative writing skills they've developed over the last few weeks to create a descriptive paragraph about Dave! 

There's not much I can tell you about Dave. You see, other than his name and his chickadee-ness, that's all I know! It's up to the kids to create Dave's story and they're off to a great start!   

On Monday, they worked on this graphic organizer. On Tuesday, we'll talk about stellar opening and closing sentences, then I'll conference with each student and off they'll go to write their paragraphs. 

I can't wait to read these creative writing pieces.  Over the course of the year, the kids have gotten to know lots of characters that I have created; now it's their turn! 

Today's Math quiz

We had a Math quiz today and it was all about solving problems that involve money. We call this type of problem (pictured below) a "bake shop problem".  

I'm not going to count the results of this quiz as I think we would benefit from further practice with this type of multi-step problem.  

The quiz comes home on Monday and students are asked to do their corrections as practice. They are not required to return it to school.

April 01, 2016

Your Friday funny...

It poured rain all day Thursday, which meant indoor recess. During lunch recess, a student, let's call him, "Mr. D" wanted to organize a game on the carpet called "Zip, Zap, Zop". It's a really fun game that we played a few times at the start of the year.  

After the group was assembled, they started the game. It's an elimination game and those kind of games can be hard for some children.  So they decided to have several (and I mean several) practice rounds. 

Then it was time to start the game officially. The squeals of delight that came from this group were, in my opinion, more fun than the game itself.  

I was minding my own business doing something, but listening to the fun they were having was just the sweetest noise.  

Finally I decided to get out the camera and share it with you. What you see/hear in the video (special filter applied to protect the face that pops in the screen) is precisely what was happening all recess long. The kids didn't amp it up for the camera in any capacity. Listen to their laughter and how sweet they are to each other as they play this 100%-not-organized/directed/controlled-by-a-grown-up game. 

I hear our weather is set to take a cold, cold turn, but this little video will certainly warm your heart and put a smile on your face!  


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