Sunday, 23 February 2014

School Olympic Fun, Interactive Math Notebook and More!

After many cancellations due to weather, temperature, workshops etc., we finally held our School Olympic Day this week! It was awesome!

Each team as assigned a country. Of course, our entire school envied the class that was CANADA! Hahaha! My class was "USA".... which wasn't the most popular country, as team Canada and USA were scheduled to play one another the day of our games. Ha! We still cheered our hearts out.

We were also decked out in red, blue and white, I brought in face paint, we made USA headbands and arm bands out of streamers and carried our mini flags.

Our opening ceremony kicked things off. Here's a peak at lighting our Olympic torch (paper flames and Christmas lights!) Adorbs!

The games were classic and entertaining (to say the least).

We also streamed the CANADA vs. USA hockey game throughout the school.

This week I also took on a new role as a Home Instructor for a student who is ill and cannot attend school. She is a sweet little girl who is very motivated to learn (what teacher doesn't LOVE that?!)
 I started an interactive math notebook with her-- Our focus has been on Fractions. I have created some interactive lessons and have also used some great activities by Blair Turner.

We have also created an Olympic Inspired Literacy scrapbook, using centers created by a colleague in my board and some of my own. After many weeks off of school, it was nice to ease back into work with her.
A little work with adjectives, nouns, & verbs---- Ahhhh....Poetry!

Summarizing news articles.

In my classroom, I have been trying to integrate various subjects. This week in Geography and Literacy, we looked at Natural Disasters. I have begun to teach my kids "how to research". Using both big ideas, by students are in the midst of creating a natural disaster research paper. I am using Erin Cobb's research pack and I am loving it :) I will continue to model the process this week.

And there goes another week...... 2 weeks until March Break! WOOT WOOT!

Don't know how I am going to get through the week without satisfying my Olympic addiction! Woke up at 6:55am to catch the Gold Medal Hockey Game this morning and it was oh-so-worth-it! Way to go Canada! We are proud! :)

Listening to our national anthem never gets old. Brings a smile to my face.
(And no, I didn't get off the couch to video this! Hahaha! It's early on a Sunday morn.... Don't judge!)

HAPPY SUNDAY!!! Have a great week :)


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Revisiting Student Work

This year the grade three classes at our school were selected to participate in a SWS (Student Work Study)  program. Our school board sends a consultant to observe, describe and analyze the thinking of some chosen students in hopes to identify ways in which to bump up their level of work. When I say observe some students, it also includes observing the teaching done in the classroom and the way the teacher works with the students.  The idea of this program is based on the premise that learning for both the teacher and the student never ceases. A premise I agree whole heartily on.

The consultant has decided to analyze, observe and research the students revisiting their own work as a focus in my classroom. We have chosen language, more specifically - writing to be the area for improvement. I agree that this area is in great need of attention. To be able to revisit work you need to have previous student work to look at. The consultant was thrilled with the writing portfolio I have been keeping since September. This portfolio has forced me to file away a piece of writing each month so that I can monitor the progress each student has made. It now serves another purpose, each student now has their own writing to "bump" up. They are not competing with other students, they are competing with themselves, looking to just improve their own work. This provides a guaranteed non-competitive atmosphere of success for all of the students in my class. They are confident they can improve on their own work and has shown this in their revisions.
We have provided this form of feedback on each student's work and they look forward to reading the stars and the arrows when I am finished reading what they have revised. Maybe this will be helpful in your classroom, it has been a positive addition to mine. I can see how this would be used for every subject, but for right now our focus is language.
Here is the "Tweet Student of the Week" Board from last week.
Great Job Ethan! Your pictures were AWESOME!
Congratulations to MOM on an awesome poem about ETHAN!
Last week was also Valentine's Day.
The students loved their Valentine's from me this year. It was so much fun handing them out.
Who says "kids" get to have all the fun?????  
This was also the first year I made cake pops with the students. It was like having an easy bake oven in the classroom. Of course we took all the necessary precautions, and I was the only one that was able to put the batter into the machine. The students helped make the batter, and were able to watch cake balls form in just 4 minutes. We then let them cool and each student dipped their cake ball in melted chocolate. The cake ball was then packaged and sent home to eat.

The mailboxes were a great hit this year, and even though I down sized them to save on paper, they were able to hold all of the Valentine's Day treats that were passed out.
Hope everyone is having a great week so far. March Break is just around the corner!
Thank you




Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Sochi Olympics, How to Summarize and more.....

Well..... if this e-card doesn't say it all. Ugh!
What a winter we have had in Ontario, Canada, so far. Snow and cold and snow and cold.....and more snow...... and with more cold comes more indoor recesses. We have been cooped up inside for what seems to be close to 3 months (with an outdoor recess peppered here and there). It has made for a LONG winter and a tired teacher.
Any way.... enough whining from me (For now! Ha!)
We have embraced the Olympic spirit in 7E!
This week I used a little of Erin Cobb's 2014 Sochi Olympic Pack to sew together some Geography with various Olympic competing countries, located around the world.
Our focus was to look at patterns and characteristics of major climate regions around the world and start to get a sense of where various countries are located in relation to our own.

 We also used our measurement skills from past math units to analyze population and area.

For our problem of the week in math, we analyzed the Vancouver 2010 Olympic medal standings & data.
Students were asked:
1.) How many medals were handed out in total?
2.) If gold=3 points etc., how many points were distributed to each country?
3.) What percentage of medals did Canada win? Where percentage of Canada's medals were gold, silver and bronze?
4.) Make 3 or more assumptions about the data.

In Literacy, we focused a lot on understanding simple and complex texts by summarizing important ideas. I am really trying to get my students to cite various details that support the main idea.
**Text support, text support, text support!!!!**


I was getting frustrated with the summaries I was receiving, so I decided to present a visual for my students this week. I picked up Deb Hanson's Summarizing Fiction Powerpoint and her interactive notebook freebie, to go along with it.

I do not have my students use the words "beginning, middle, end"...... etc...... rather I tell them to think of this in their minds as they recall and write. Their summary should be prepared like an ice cream sundae.

We also looked at various Olympic articles from Newsela and discussed various news sources, such as The Globe and Mail. We also dove into some "non-fiction summaries" of articles and news.
Using this inverted pyramid, the students were able to keep this visual in mind when reviewing their news article more closely.

Another freebie we tried out this week at the end of one of our nutty days was this Geometric Star visual arts activity. A very calming activity to end the day with.

Finally, since moving to the intermediate division this year, my teaching world has significantly changed. There was a big *sigh* this week as I reflected on my past Valentine's Days--- HERE.
The 12 and 13 year olds in my class could care less that it was Valentine's Day, so we embraced the day by writing letter to their parents/guardians. As a pre-teens/teenagers, they love their parents, but often do not tell them. This was the perfect opportunity to show the love.

I hope that you had a great weekend filled with love, laughs and smiles.

Have a great week!