Monday, 16 December 2013

T'was the last week before the break.....

3-more-days! Oh yes.... I am counting! Ha!
Here's what we've been up to! Maybe there is something you can use in the coming days or hold onto for next year.
Last week we began our Christmas read alouds and shared reading. Our first reading was

Our focus was main idea, figurative language and challenging new words.
We used the original version of the text and dissected the difficult language embedded within. It's remarkable to see the student rise to the occasion and really begin to understand such challenging language, as while making sense of the text.
We also dove into some Christmas 'Readers' Theater'. I broke the kids up into 3 groups. The students chose their roles in each skit and participated in a shared reading (drama/literacy) each day.
The students then added sound effects and did a run-though. Tomorrow they will present their skit LIVE! :) You can grab these skits HERE. Thanks, Deb Hanson! :)

Last week in visual arts we began working with shadows, as well as space and form. Using our Advent readings and our focus around the nativity, the students created reflections of Jesus' Birth.
See the first post here.

Here is how a few turned out :)

Being that last week before Christmas Break, behaviour maintenance is a must :)
I am also sticking to our regular scheduled program!
With that in mind, I introduced a Christmas Auction Incentive late last week. Students have the ability to earn tickets for homework completion, agendas signed, helping each
other out in the classroom, being respectful, transitioning well etc.

For example, Friday was a Cumulative Review block in math class. Each question that was completed well, was worth a certain amount of tickets.
 On Thursday the students can use their tickets to bid on Christmas gifts.
I have wrapped various gifts-- For example, Jumbo Chocolate Bars, Subway gift cards, chapstick, gloves, highlighters etc.

The more tickets you have earned, the higher you can bid in the auction :)
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We just finished up a math unit in Data Management-- Today my students were broken into small groups and were assigned one chapter to create questions for our Jeopardy review game tomorrow.

The students will be broken into the groups and awarded auction tickets.

Last night I also put together small Christmas gifts for my kiddos-- Turned out super cute!
Thanks to my hubster for cutting out the labels last night, as I wrapped the ribbon!
Assembly line success!

It was inspired from an idea I saw on Pinterest-- mine is a smaller version with a label change.

Tomorrow we're kickin' back to kid mode and watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".
Each student will be given a viewing guide and fill out discussion cards throughout the movie.
We will analyze the characters (character traits), conflict, plot, narrative components, and more!
 Lots more planned.... we'll see what we get to inbetween assemblies, staff/student volleyball games and the hustle and bustle!
Wishing you a great few days before a much needed break ;)

Monday, 9 December 2013

Feeling a Little Nostalgic- Embracing Intermediate Life!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh! Can you believe it?! Only a few days left before Christmas Break! Where did the time go? These past few weeks have been giving me a feeling of nostalgia. As many of you know, especially if you follow our little blog, that I am teaching grade 7 this year.... and Christmas in an intermediate classroom is a wee-bit different than Christmas in a primary classroom. Don't get me wrong, they are excited, but it's just so very different. And different is ok.

Trying to ignite the magic, we dabbled into some Christmas Spirit and met with our JK/SK buddies! Seeing wonder in our little buddies eyes as my grade 7 gang helped write Santa letters with them, was adorable. My big kids left their classroom saying "Miss, I remember feeling so excited like that". My lesson that followed was that as you get older, it's not just about the "presents" but about the giving, the kindness and the happiness you have the ability to bring to others.
*See our light-bulb activity below*

Following our letter writing, we continued to spread the kindness to our own classmates.

In Religion Class we have been learning about how we see ourselves and how we think others see us. We often focus on the negative characteristics and quickly forget about all of the positives.
Using a Christmas light cut-out, the students wrote words that described themselves.
After, the students passed their light bulb clockwise, and each student wrote positive characteristics on the alternate side.

When the activity was complete, each bulb was laminate and hung in our classroom.
I love how the students continue to return to the stringed lights to read what others have wrote.
A few more smiles were created through this activity.

In Math class, we are well into a Data Management Unit. Using our schools Chrome Books, my students were each assigned an NBA team ( and were asked to analyze the statistics. Students created and made assumptions, graphed points scored and compared wins and losses.

My students, especially my 19 boys, were very focused on this activity and all of my kiddos produced great work!

 We also have been looking at Game System Weekly Sales and are using line graphs to compare the growth each week.

We continued using the 3:15 app on the iPad. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this app! See HERE if you missed what it's about.

We recently listened, read and viewed the book entitled "Mr. Mason's Jars".

We used Erin Cobb's Plot Trees to demonstrate their understanding of the narrative. This tree came from her "Gift of the Magi Pack", which I will be using later this week, but you could truly use it for any story.

In both drama and literacy class, we have engaged in deep discussions in regards to bullying (especially cyber) and the dangers of technology. I showed my students various Public Service Announcements (PSA's). We looked at how the message is demonstrated in a clear manner, as well as other various features. The assignment was to choose one topic we have learned about in health for the past month or so, create a script and present it in a PSA format using iMovie or Garage Band on the iPad. We will be watching how all the PSA's turned out this week. The challenge was to present the message in a way that would be taken seriously (hence, the drama aspect).

Finally, in Visual Arts, we have been working with shadows, as well as space and form. Using our Advent readings and our focus around the nativity, the students created reflections of Jesus' Birth.
We used this nativity shadow show as our inspiration:
 Here's a little peak. Our finishing touches are set for tomorrow, so you will see the final product in the next post.
Each student has their shadowed pieces reading to be added to their backgrounds.

 Stay tuned!
A busy 8 days are approaching!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

9 Days left for fun before Christmas!

Making the most of the last nine days before Christmas is going to be tough. The last days before the holidays are jam packed with assemblies, special lunches, crafts, and students that are excited for the coming of Christmas. Trying to get it all done and sneak in some meaningful work will be tricky.
We are adopting and making reindeer this week. After naming them, we will be featuring them in a story using some interesting story starters.

Last week we made 3-D figures with marshmallows which is always a student favourite.
Here is Maddy's "Tweet Student of the Week Board" from the week before.
Congratulations to David on his fantastic "Tweet student of the Week" last week.
David was joined by both his brother's and his mom for his special lunch. A special Thank you to David's parents for doing such a great job on their homework assignment.
We started our Forces of Nature projects last week, and should have them complete before the holidays. The students worked hard at the computer lab researching their topics and reading non-fiction text. We discussed how non-fiction can have words that are challenging and the students worked hard to decode meaning from what they found.
Here is the students brainstorming the different types of forces that cause movement. We are doing the drama activity that goes with this sometime this week.
These activities and more can be found in the Forces and Movement Package.
Hope everyone had a great weekend.