Sunday, 24 November 2013

Making Things Work

We have just begun our Geometry Unit, and the results of our government testing showed that it was one of the weakest area for our students.  The math book we use is only a guideline, so I have found some freebie's on TPT that I hope will break things down for the students. This shape book that the students started with, went through and explained the basics about shapes and their attributes. You can find the free download here. I loved it.

I found it was helpful to start with the basics. I have some smartboard activities planned for this week as well as a flip riddle book.
Our 2nd "Tweet" student of the week did an amazing job. I want to thank the "Tweet" student's parents again this week, for writing such an incredible "note from the nest". I think as of right now, the students love the parent letter day the best out of their whole special week. Here is Ryan's bulletin board.
In Science News, the launch to our new unit went off with a BANG!  We created our Anchor chart with what we know, what we want to know and what we will learn. The students had some great things they were curious about.  Some really interesting questions about gravity.
Here are some pictures of the students making anchor charts for the classroom of push and pull factors found at home and at school. They realise that every moment of everyday has something that can be considered a push or a pull. For example: Just the motion of my finger tips on my laptop keyboard is a push factor at work. :)
These and more activities like these can be found in our Science Package- Forces and Movement.
Hope you have a wonderful week.  December is just around the corner. Check back next week, when it will be raining reindeer. :)
Thank you

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Breaking the READING Stigma

My post this week is all about getting my students to start to enjoy reading and writing.
Most despise it.
I am really trying to find different ways to show them "words" in various forms.

So who wouldn't want to start off the week with a little One Direction!?! HA!
Our interactive reading this week focused on the use of "Hyperbole"- An exaggeration that cannot possibly be true. This fun and entertaining boy band's lyrics are chalked full of "Hyperboles"! HEHE!

Watching the "One Thing" music video and following along with some of the lyrics, my students were asked to highlight all of the exaggerated sentences, phrases and words.

After the hyperboles were highlighted, the students then had to write why they chose certain words or phrases as exaggerations. It was definitely an activity that had my kids focused, all while being entertained :)

I have been continuing to play off of Erin Cobb's literacy ideas with a little more work with narratives. Looking again at an authors plot structure-- I find that using this structure also allows me to check my students reading comprehension and retell abilities in a different way.

We read the 3:15 series story "Reflecting Pool" projected off of the iPad.
Another, on the edge of your seat" story, that my students enjoyed. A great and unique way to bring shared reading into your Junior or Intermediate classroom.

After reading, we used a flip book approach again, and students filled in their recall and text support onto each flip-tab.

During independent reading, my grade 7's used the reading response prompt cards from the "Independent Reading Box" that Christine and I created last year.
The students chose a prompt, and using text support, answered the question of their choice.
Because the choice is up to them, it really gives me a peak at the kids who truly show initiative and those that try to pull fast ones.

Last week I posted a little about Graphic Texts. This week my students presented their "Comics with a Message" to the class. Very well done and a great oral communication/drama mark-- as their voices needed to adapt to their characters and story line, all while entertaining the crowd!

 A long, but good week in 7E! Lots of things planned as we inch closer to the Christmas season!
Stay tuned!
Happy Saturday!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Elementary Ideas

Quick post tonight....

Last week Christine and I posted some Remembrance Day painting pics. It was an idea that we brainstormed over a cup of coffee a few weeks back. We often try to create ideas that can reach across many grades, with increased expectations as the grade level changes.

Here is the visual arts activity in Christine's grade 3 classroom----The students also brainstormed words for Remembrance Day and chose a sentence that explained how they felt.

Here is my group of grade 7's art. The students used various elements of design such as line, shape, colour and texture.
The students then created many questions and comments from varying perspectives-- The wrote from the point of view of a grade 7 student, a soldier returning from war, and a poppy in Flanders Fields.
Here's a peak at their final product:

Last week we also dove into various text forms such as graphic texts and narratives.
Below are a few pics of my students creating their own comic strip focusing on features such as italics, bold print, thought bubbles, narration, 1st or 3rd person perspectives, illustrations, headings, etc. Each comic needed to relay a lesson or message to the reader.

 The comics are in the process of being cut and glued onto large strips of Bristol board, but will be copied onto a transparency and projected for their oral presentations.

Last week we also continued looking at narratives and plot structure.
Tomorrow the students are being introduced to season 1, episode 2 of the 3:15 series entitled "Reflecting Pool". They were mesmerized by the first episode and fantastic writing was produced. They have been pestering me to watch and read the next. Tomorrow is the day!

You can pick this plot diagram template HERE.

Lots of hands on literacy and math activities on tap for this week. Stay tuned :)

Happy Monday--- As happy as one can be on the first day of a week! :)


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Last Week In Mrs. Renaud's Room

Last week in my classroom we had our first "Tweet" Student of the Week. Grace put together a fabulous board for our class to enjoy. On her "Show and Tell" day, she shared one of her favourite Robert Munsch Books and read it to the class. Hat's off to Grace's parents who wrote an incredible poem for me to read to the class on her "Note from the Nest" day. The students loved listening to tidbits about Grace that rhymed throughout the letter. All in all, Grace told me she had a wonderful week and enjoyed each activity. Here are some pictures of her special week.
During language last week, I was looking to inspire my students to write about something. Finding topics that all students can be inspired to write about can be difficult. So, last week to my students surprise, they entered the classroom and were greeted by the wonderful smell of cinnamon pancakes. We have been learning about real maple syrup in our pioneer unit and I thought 'what better way to learn and write about real maple syrup than sampling some'. After enjoying our pancakes, the students were asked to write a paragraph about "pancakes". We had some of our best writing this morning, and all students were focused and working. Even the students that didn't want to try a pancake were intrigued and inspired to write. Some made connections to pancakes they have had from the past, and some told incredible stories about why they like or didn't like pancakes.
Once our rough drafts were complete, we started a new system for revising our writing. The students travel through stations that focuses on word choice, sentence fluency, punctuation, spelling, and text forms. I set up the stations around the room, and they would travel from station to station with their pancake paragraph and they were working hard at bumping up the level of their writing. Movement is the key. I found that just the movement of walking from station to station had the students focused and they worked longer on their paragraphs than staying at their desk with a check list to revise their work. Not sure if you are experiencing the same with your class or not, but usually after the writing process was complete on any assignment, it was hard to get them to look over their work. This seem to do the trick.
I found these on TPT, they were created by Nicole Shelby and called "Writing Centers for Revising and Editing". Thank you Nicole, they worked like a dream with my class. :)
In math this week, I had the students tackle word problems. Each day there was a new word problem on our Math board for the students to work on if they finished their work early. I also had them work on chart paper in pairs with different word problems. Once the questions were complete the students presented their answers to the class explaining the reasoning behind what they did. How interesting that a larger piece of paper and some smelly markers makes all the difference in getting students thrilled about their work.

 New this week and HOT off the press!!!

Our class is beginning our Science Unit on Forces and Movement this week. We have been working all month on this unit and are excited to have it ready to share. You can get a glimpse of it here.
Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

New Practices

Last week we started some new practices in our classroom.  So far the response has been more than I could ask for. The group point system is working like a charm and the students are working together.  Lessons are starting quicker and transitioning between activities is taking minutes instead of blocks of time.
We had our first scavenger hunt math quiz this week. It was also bring your child to work day, so I had extra help with the set up. This came in handy since I broke my toe and was still not walking on it. I went through instructions for the quiz with the students and the extra help of my son Ben and my best friends daughter Amelia made the set up a piece of cake. For our scavenger hunt math quiz, I write two questions on cue cards and tape them up all around the room. When the students come in from recess I model how to take a card and complete the quiz. My son and my best friend's daughter were my markers for the test, so the students were able to have instant feedback on whether or not they were completing the questions correctly. It has been my experience that the students feel less over whelmed doing 2 questions at a time, and run to find another card. This is just a way I found that I can still assess how they are doing in a less threatening way than a sit down test. Here are some pics of the fun quiz.

Last week I also started posting a "Good Math Question" on our Math word wall. I posted a question that the students responsible for working on when they finish their math early. They copy the question down in their math journal and work anywhere in the classroom.
For Remembrance Day I took a huge risk and had my first experience with charcoal. The class did not disappoint me. They were so incredible and focused. I think we have made a larger mess with markers. When explaining and modelling how to use to charcoal the students didn't move. They were so excited, as was I, to try something new. We even used rolled up pieces of bread as our erasers like the pioneers would have. What a great connection. The students also brainstormed words for Remembrance Day and chose a sentence that explains how they feel. Here is their visual art projects. I am so proud of them.


The poppies are made out of finger paint.
Here is a finished copy.
We start our first "Tweet" Student of the Week tomorrow. I have been modelling with my own project last week. I will post a picture of each students board on every Sunday. I hope Grace is excited tomorrow when she finds out she is our first "Tweet" Student. Congratulations Grace.
Some pictures I wanted to share didn't transfer onto my laptop tonight. I am hoping to post them tomorrow.
Hope everyone had a great Sunday! I know I did. Any day Kaitlin and I can spend time together working on packages is a great day.