Friday, 31 October 2014

This Week: Quick Review Ideas for Science, Literacy & Math

We wrapped up a BUSY week with the review of key concepts in Science, Literacy& Math......

The students final Science assignment this week was to sum up/review the last portion of the unit we've been working on, with a song. Students were put into groups (at random), and created songs. The grade 6's focused on Invertebrates and the 7's focused on Interactions within Ecosystems.
The students used iPods, iPads, Nexus', & Chrome Books (from school and home) to put together their Science Jam! Each group chose a familiar song and adjusted the lyrics to summarize our last few lessons.

Here are a few to listen to:
This song is about Invertebrates (Gr.6) using the song "Trumpets" by Jason Derulo

This song is about Interactions (Gr.7) using the song "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Halloween sparked some suspenseful reading and writing this week. We have been working with Narratives and dove particularly into Suspense stories.

This online episode by Patrick Carman "Mr. Mason's Jars" was one of the stories we looked at this week to review key features. We then used this story as a jumping off point for our own writing.

Short Story Writing Assignment- We used the pictures in the book entitled The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, as a writing prompt. These pictures represented the middle of the suspense story. The students then created narratives with suspense features, to create short stories.

Here are a few of the pictures:

 Their short stories are almost complete and they are great. I can't tell you how helpful these pictures were in sparking the creativity in so many students that don't necessarily think in a creative way or need to ask "how should I start?"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Finally, I am all about quick reviews at the beginning of each math class. This is a brief example of involving the students in review lessons.
This week I gave each student a card and told them to write down a decimal within 2 numbers. I collected the decimal numbers and then randomly called students up to place the decimals on the "yarn" number line.

Also, providing videos for students to use as a "note" at home to complete homework or use as a reminder, is also a big help
(for parents, too).
Here's one that we used this week after much practice with dividing decimals.

View How to Divide Decimals on Howcast


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Engaging Students: Coffee House Edition

This blog post is about setting the stage to engage. I am not na├»ve to think that my students are going to retain everything or most of what I teach them. They will probably forget MOST. But I do know, they are more apt to remember certain concepts when they are engaged or are creating a memory. I try my best to make the "boring" more enjoyable. Some may ask "why" or say "what a waste of time"..... or better yet, "you have too much time on your hands". Hahaha. These all may be true. But if you think back to being in elementary school (specifically grade 6 & 7), what do you remember? Probably not the formulas, or specific textbooks readings, but rather the "goodtimes" or memories.

Below is a brief summary of a Coffee House (Book Summary Sampling Party) I hosted with my kiddos this week. Can't say how happy I was with the outcome! My students loved it, and I got some terrific writing out of it.

We have been working on summaries--How to recap what we've read, using/citing text evidence. My students read 15-20 min. independently throughout the day. I will often provide them with questions pertaining to a certain reading strategy that we have been working on, to answer in regards to their book/reading of choice.

This week, my students were asked to summarize the key points/main ideas of what they read 'that day'. That evening, I asked them to go home and type this summary out on their Google Doc Accounts and to print a copy off and bring back to school. The next day, I had them glue their summaries on a large piece of paper (see below). During the next reading block, I had my class rotate around to each students desk, reading their summaries and providing peer feedback. This allowed students to see how others write, common writing errors (such as spelling and grammar), and get an idea of what kids their age are reading.

Their comments were written on the edge of the paper, using an arrow linking to the error or feedback point.

From there, I booked time on the computer/Chrome Books for students to log back into their Google Accounts, and make adjustments to their summaries. Many needed more text examples or needed to provide more info to the reader, making their summaries more easily understood.

The following day, the students re-printed their "good copy" of their summaries. And I held a Summary Sampling Coffee House.
I picked up some hot chocolate, and put out some goodies. Funny how simple things make the students uber eager. I put on Jazz Music, trying to resemble a real coffee house. Now, don't get me wrong,.... I have a group that can handle all of this. If this was a group that couldn't, I would eliminate food etc. and just set up a mini-sampling with music or eliminate the "extras" altogether.

From there, I had the students slip their summaries into a plastic sleeve covering and put their current independent book on their desk.

Students then rotated around the room reading summaries, providing feedback on "Summary Sampling Sheets", listening to music, and enjoying a beverage.

At the end of the period, the students returned back to their seats to read the feedback. They stuck the feedback sheets into the back of their plastic coverings and handed them in to be assessed.
We had a discussion about best writing and reading practices, and how important text support is when we read and write.

It was an activity I would DEFINITELY do again. Not just for summaries, but other activities. It was an experience and memory, rather than just a paper/pencil task, with no meaning. 
I put this activity in a mini-pack that you can check out below.

Here's a sneak preview of the pack.

This pack includes: *How to run a Summary Sampling Party/Coffee House
*Anchor chart on how to write a summary
*Fiction Summary Checklist
*Fiction Summary Checklist -mini-version for students
*Non-Fiction Summary Checklist
*Non-Fiction Checklist -mini-version for students
*What to include on the "day of" your summary party
*Success Criteria & Learning Goal Printables to display
*Peer Feedback Summary Sheets (Sampling Cards)
*Pictures from my Summary Sampling Party/Coffee House

Click here to go to TpT to see more.

Set the stage to engage, when possible, and see how it transforms your classroom :)

Happy Sunday! Thanks for stopping in :)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Mrs. Edmunds Class: Science Projects, A Spooky Narrative and Edible Math

So life's been a little busy, as of lately.... Hence the lack in blogging.

My Great Aunt past away last weekend, amongst my sisters 1/2 marathon race and our Canadian Thanksgiving festivities. She was 94 years of age, but extremely spry and 'with it', which makes the loss harder sometimes. Nevertheless, her immense faith in God gave her the strength to prepare for her last few days and carry her through. We shared a beautiful goodbye with her.

The craziness this weekend has continued, as I am getting a head start writing in between my cousin's wedding and reception right now, trying to regain my heat, as it was an outdoor ceremony! Yikes! The high today is 50F! And if you know me, it might as well be snowing at that temp! Haha.....

Oh yes.... and I am just over 6 months pregnant with my first baby, so there's that! Hehe. A wee bit tuckered out :)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Oh ya.... and there's teaching! Here's a few snapshots and activities from the past 2 weeks.

In math, my students are working on Data Management.

Amongst many mini-lessons, here are two that my kiddos really enjoyed.
With our dear Detroit Tiger's Season coming to an end, we decided to analyze how much team payroll affected team wins in the 2014/15 season. Using a scatter plot, we had many fascinating discussions about rankings and cost per wins and if it's all worth it in the end.

Each student was provided with an MLB sheet (the one below).
Together, we plotted Teams Wins vs. Team Payroll. Nothing fancy, but we it made it's point. Hehe.

Another easy, but uber fun activity was the Oreo stacking competition I held this week.
This was a summary/end of the unit review activity, which looked at many aspects of our unit on Data Management.
Here's how it worked: I chose 10 students' names out of a bag
(five grade 6's and five grade 7's).

Each of the students were given 30's seconds to stack as many Oreo's as possible. Only one Oreo was allowed in each hand at a time.
We then recorded the data. Each grade was provided questions to answer and analyze.
The students were extremely engaged and it was a great review of key concepts. We also were able to discuss inferences and connections to data such as grade, age, gender, strategy etc.

As noted in my last blog post, my grade 6's created one of the 5 Kingdom Diorama's and my 7's created an ecosystem in a bottle. Both grades were provided a checklist with expectations, as well as a list of goals. The students presented their projects this past week. It was great to see how the grade 6 curriculum and the grade 7 curriculum begin to intertwine.

This week, the students will have their projects and write ups on display and each student will be given  a mini-quiz on what they have learned and be asked to take these ideas one step further.

Last but not least, in Literacy, we have been working on Narratives and its text features. If you have been following our blog, you know that I love using the 3:15 app on the iPad.

This past week I played the story "Buried Treasure" (one of the free books on this app) for my kiddos. We used our Narrative graphic organizer to analyze and discuss the text and it's features in more detail. You can grab this organizer HERE.
My goal is to lead into "Suspense Stories" this week and next as we near Halloween. I have a few cute writing activities that I will share in the next post for the week of Halloween, as well as a great anchor chart to use in the classroom.

Tomorrow I am hosting "Coffee House Summary Sampler" in my room. I will have more details on this and some pics up in my next post.

Have a great, Sunday and a wonderful week ahead.