Sunday, 26 January 2014

Rip Roaring Week!

Last week was an exciting week. The students brought in their "Rip Roaring Ramp" projects and I have to say, I was impressed by each and every one. Some of the projects I was impressed by the simplicity of the design and the few materials they needed to meet all the goals of the project. For others, it was the detail and added functions they were able to construct. Here are pictures of all the amazing creations brought in. There are only 4 students left to present, so I will include those pictures in the next blog.

        The Rip Roaring Ramp project is just one of the activities found in this science package.

                                                   So proud of the students!

This one was completely out of candy.
As you can tell by the student's expressions, they are so proud as well.  
These are some pictures of the students doing the experiments in the package.
This one was on static electricity, we used our hair and a pop can.  
Our mass at church last week was a great success. The students traced out of their hands and we cut the middle out of them and put coloured tissue from behind the middle as the skin. We added them all to a huge cross that was cut out of big screen TV box. The stain glass cross turned out exceptionally well. I apologize for not having a picture of it. The church asked to hold on to it for this Sunday's mass, so I will go take a picture for the blog next week. It is worth showing.

We also got into some great writing last week about hot chocolate. Last week was another polar vortex for us, so with such cold temperatures, we made hot chocolate as a class and used a TPT hot chocolate writing package. The students were excited to make, smell, taste and talk about hot chocolate. There was some great paragraph writing going on in the classroom. The class also went around with a survey they made on "How do you like your Hot Chocolate?"

Here is last week's star of the week. Congratulations to Christian's parents for a great job on their parent letter. :)

 This week will be filled with a lot of last minute organization and assessment. Reports are due, units are almost complete. Term 2 starts next week.

Organization starts here with these folders. I had the students put name art the front of them and these will hold all their first term work.


This Friday is Chinese New Year. I am looking forward to the celebration that will end our term!
Last year, I had a near by Chinese restaurant donate, chop sticks, place mats and fortune cookies to the class. I ordered fried wontons with sauce and white sticky rice for the students to sample. We watched a YouTube on how to use chopsticks,  the students learned about their own Chinese symbol and what it represented. We printed out the Chinese New Year booklet found in the mini unit below, had lucky money red envelopes and read a couple of stories about Chinese Traditions.  I plan on doing all those things along with using the new "Year of the Horse" craftivity package.
Please take advantage of the FREEBIE word scrabble we are offering.
Great activity for the kids!
Hope everyone has a great week!

Geometry Tiling and Some More Text Diving!

Oh Mama! We're going on week three of indoor recesses ya'll! That's as far as I will go with that thought! If you are a teacher you get it--- and your face might look something like this.

This week in math we worked on transformations in geometry. We started a mini-tiling project to really get this gist of rotations, reflections and translations. The students need to remember that at any point where vertices meet, the angles add to 180 degrees.

Tomorrow the students will have to include a write up about a portion of their tiling and be able to explain and describe their transformations.

In Literacy, we continued to look at Author's Purpose.
Since we have been spending quite a bit of time analyzing various texts and their purpose, we have a little quiz this week using this video by Lovin' Lit. I paused the computer after each video and the students recorded the purpose and evidence in their response books.
We had a couple chuckles with this video compilation.

We also continued using the Author's Purpose task cards by Erin Cobb. These have a been awesome and have really let me model my expectations well.

My new writing goal has been to get the students to add more figurative and vivid language into their writing. This week we used this great flip note as a reminder of each type.

Towards the end of the week we looked a metaphors- a comparison of two unlike things.
We used this video by Lonestar called "I'm Already There" to highlight this idea.

 The students use the lyrics to highlight and explain why it might be a metaphor and why the singer/songwriter might use various metaphors in their song.
We also took a deeper look at "main idea" and "theme"--- all using one song.

 This week I am looking forward to diving back into some readers theatre. I am going to use Deb Hanson's "A Day at Miller Mountain" to teach these elements of drama in a very simple way:

role/character: considering motivations of historical and fictional characters; considering various facets
of multidimensional characters; revealing character through the use of props and movement/blocking; maintaining commitment to role
time and place: improvising with/adapting available materials to establish setting; using blocking
(e.g., when and where to move) and stage areas (e.g., upstage right, downstage centre) in planning and performance




Sunday, 19 January 2014

Author's Purpose, Musical Writing Assignment and more!

Getting back into routine after the Christmas Break has been a tough-go for many of the students in my class. A week of indoor recess did not help our cause. I felt burnt out by Wednesday! I felt like a nurse, counsellor, therapist, behaviour specialist, parent, teacher etc.! I know..... for most of us teachers, that's how we feel every day! But this week was something else. I have a feeling I am going to look back on this year as "one of those years".
This is what I have been trying to remind myself of when days are rough:
Every week I try to clear my mind and try my best to focus on what needs to get done.
So this is how some of the week went down in 7E:
The students had a writing assignment to complete.
They each chose a group out of the class jar.
Each group chose a song that they wanted to change the lyrics to, as well as an issue (i.e. animal right, social issue, human rights issue, environmental issue etc.).
Each group was responsible for changing the refrain and 1 verse of the song to reflect the issue.
Here are few of their songs. EVERY ONE turned out pretty well. Such a fun presentation to watch. The kids got a kick out of them. Lots of "stepping out of the box".

Here are some new versions to: Party Rockers, Say Something, and Counting Stars.
video video
I often record/video their presentations so I can go back to look at who did what. I also like to re-watch the videos so that I can take my time assessing and making notes for feedback, etc.
After the presentations, I wrote reflective questions on the board. I also like to see how the students would assess themselves and how they viewed group work and their role. Surprisingly, the students are often harder on themselves then I usually am.... So when they receive their mark, they are pleasantly surprised! HA!
Here are a few questions I asked after this assignment:
1.) What was the theme of your song?
2.) Did your group equally share in the assignment (i.e. writing, sharing ideas, practising, etc.)?
3.) Assess your group and explain why you would give your group this mark:
Group Work
I then fill out their assignment assessment sheet (which states the learning goal and success criteria in each subject area) and return it to them (both stapled together) and send it home to get signed. 
This week we focused a lot on non-fiction texts.

I have loved using newsela! See HERE and HERE for my last 2 blogs about this non-fiction
reading site.
It's been 6 days using this site and my kids are really enjoying it. I like how they can choose articles at their own reading level. They seem so much more confident! We worked on mini-non-fiction book reports to give them a visual of the text features present in their article of choice. You can pick these up HERE. I really think they could be used for all grades (depending on your group).

We also finished up a Visual Arts/Geography assignment-- to create a sketch (using pastels), that exhibited a place that encompassed human and physical characteristics. In addition, the students needed to write about this location, explaining it in detail using key geographic terms.

We are continuing to focus on "Author's Purpose". I use Erin Cobb's Author's Purpose Task Cards (this was one of her giveaways at Christmas-- so lucky and thankful). The students look at 1-2 cards each day and determine the purpose of the paragraph. They must use evidence from the text to prove their answer. We usually do a shared read and modelling of 1 of the task cards and then they work independently on the other.
 This week we are going to use a video compilation of various commercials, ads, etc. and I am going to quiz the students on what they have learned so far! Stay tuned!
Lots of planning took place in my house this weekend---- mostly to avoid report cards HA!--- but nevertheless, my week is planned!
Have a great week.
And remember......