December 16, 2017

The Legend of the Poinsettia

On Friday, we read "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie DePaola and from there, we completed our final painting project until the spring.  

Throughout the course of our painting unit, the boys and girls have learned the value of persistence, practice and how by breaking tasks down into smaller steps, we can achieve some pretty amazing things.  

On Thursday, I gave the kids the heads up that this might be the most challenging (and frustrating!) drawing yet. I told them to pack their patience and be ready to persist.  

As you can see, their paintings are stunning, and I'm so very proud of my class.  It's been so exciting to watch as my students' skills have grown. We've drawn and painted a fish, a reindeer and now a poinsettia.  Throughout the process, students have learned so much more than the "how-to" skills I've taught them.  

We have one more project in the spring, and while I certainly don't want to rush my time with my crew, I'm looking forward to seeing those pieces! 

December 13, 2017

A mid-week update

We've had some kind of virus going around our room for a few weeks now.  Cold, fever, loss of voice and appetite...those seem to be the common symptoms.  Needless to say, I haven't had my full crew for some time!  

If your child is away this week and you're looking to keep them on track, here are a few things they can work on at home.  No printer? No problem! Please have students view the various pages and write their responses on a separate piece of paper.  

  • students wrote their Geometry test on Wednesday. Those students who were absent should be prepared to write it upon their return. There are two videos to watch here that will help students prepare for the test.  
  • we're working on our Mrs. Claus paragraphs. Students are to write a paragraph about what she does on Christmas Eve while Santa delivers the gifts. Students must include "sparkly" and memorable details while focusing on using transitional words and effective punctuation. Print the writing page and checklist here.   
  • absent students can print their missed Practice Pages here:  Practice Pages 16/17
  • Students can also work on this page from their Christmas booklet.
  • Our text of the week is pictured below, please have your child read it aloud with lots of expression. We will have our test on Friday and absent students should be prepared to write. 

Last week, when learning about adding sparkly details to our work, we watched this commercial.  Students were encouraged to choose their favourite funny detail. 

Since then, we've  had all kinds of camel impressions! I like this one a lot!  

We saw the movie Wonder last week and it was such a special way to cap off our 14th week together.  When we returned, students broke off into various groups and were given discussion questions about the movie. I enjoyed hearing all of their opinions and ideas. They communicate so respectfully, especially when disagreeing with one another.  

We've started our Christmas craft and those students who are absent can look forward to joining the fun when they return to school.  

And as you can see, our little tree is filling up with all kinds of goodies for nice girls and boys! 

Now that we've written our Math test for Unit 3, we'll spend the rest of our time together focused on learning about multiplication and division. We're pretty good with both concepts, but the extra practice will serve us well. Students are encouraged to memorize their math songs found at the top of the blog page.  

When we return in the new year, we'll jump right into data management.  

December 08, 2017

Preparing for the Geometry Test

The Geometry test has been moved to Wednesday December 13. To help the boys and girls prepare for the test, I've made two review videos that I hope they'll find useful.  

Is it a pyramid or a prism?

To assist the boys and girls with practice at home for Tuesday's Math test, here is the strategy we use to help remember the difference between a pyramid and a prism.  

December 07, 2017

Let's talk about procedural writing

We started procedural writing today. The boys and girls are writing all about what Mrs. Claus does on Christmas Eve while Santa is out delivering all the presents. The purpose of this activity is multi-layered. I'm teaching my students to: 
  • think like a character
  • write an interesting paragraph with sparkly, memorable details that evoke a response from the reader 
  • write steps in sequence 
  • implement feedback from their writing pieces thus far  
We've talked a lot about procedural writing in my class. Actually, you might say we've done so since the first day of school.  Our Morning Message letter is an example of procedural writing. I always first tell my purpose for writing and then explain what we'll be doing throughout the day. Here's one of those letters from around Thanksgiving last year. Each day in my class begins with one of these.  

Over the next few days, students will learn the key features of procedural writing pictured below.  

I'll be thrilled if everyone finished their paragraph, but it's this ideas page that I'm most interested in. Since such a heavy focus has been placed on creating an interesting and memorable paragraph, I want to see that my students are capable of generating these ideas on their own. We're using the two commercials and my paragraph pictured below as our mentor "texts", so to speak. 

On Thursday, I'll conference with each student, look at their ideas and give a bit of feedback to help guide them along. I'm really looking to see that they can come up with their own ideas (sometimes kids tend to follow the teacher's example) and ask themselves the following questions:  
  • Have I included the essential details so that the reader can make a picture in their mind?
  • Have I included details that will be memorable to the reader like the ones in the commercials we watched?
  • Have I included details that will evoke a response from the reader (likely it will be laughter, but you never know!) 

After looking at and discussing key features from a few samples I wrote, along with television commercials that include many interesting details, I set my little authors loose to create their own literary works of art.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how these all turn out; it's a lot harder than it looks and requires students to think very critically about their own work.

December 06, 2017

Wednesday's Geometry quiz

We had a geometry quiz on Wednesday and I wanted to share a few level four samples with blog visitors. This video was made on Wednesday afternoon when we took the quiz up together.  The photos are exemplars from 2015. 

By sharing these exemplars from my students, parents and fellow classmates can more fully understand why they received the score they did and in the case of my students, use this information to help them self-assess their strengths and needs.

In the last few weeks, the boys and girls have learned all about parallel lines, hatch marks and the word congruent. 

I came upon this work of art at the airport a few summers ago and made a quick recording to show the boys and girls how parallel lines work. Now, although it will look like it, I assure you I was not doing jumping jacks while filming it. Perhaps the shakey camera is just matter of too much coffee that morning? But seriously, can one ever really have too much coffee?! 

December 04, 2017

A very cozy Friday!

Friday December 1st was "Christmas Kick-off Day" in room 208 and we had a ball! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE wore their jammies! Thank to all the boys and girls for your enthusiastic participation! I loved seeing all your adorable jammy-jams!  

A selfie with Santa! What an amazing day! 

In addition to adorable jammies, there were fabulous slippers too! 

We started our day with a great story about kindness and giving thanks. 

Student of the Day, Travis helped me organize the groceries for our big day!   

After lunch, we played lots of fun games such as the Christmas Jump Game with Lucky Charms, we set the timer and challenged ourselves to build the longest paper chain with just one piece of construction paper and a metre of tape!  

Thank you to Miss Sofia, for helping with the preparations for the afternoon! 

This game is always a hit! 

Sometimes it helps to play with a friend! 

Then, we wrapped our afternoon and enjoyed a modern version of the Christmas story with some hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies!  
Thank you to Miss Lea, for her help arranging our cookies! 

Lovely job Miss Lea! 

Thanks again to all the boys and girls for a very memorable Christmas Kick-off Day! I think it was my favorite Fun Friday so far! 


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