29 November 2010

Counting Down to the Winter Holidays

Tonight, please work on your special card for your 'secret card recipient'. Think about the things that are special about that person. The picture you draw could be connected to that person's interests too. Remember to address and close the card correctly. Please hand it to me in a named envelope without letting the student in school know by Wednesday morning!


Dear ---------------,

I think................You are......... I remember........... I always................

Image: samundi.de

23 November 2010

Mathematics: Place Value Continued

Our exploration into place value continues. This unit is so important as without this, you really are missing a crucial concept for all areas of number.
KU 5: There are patterns in the way we write whole numbers that help us to remember their order.
Does the order of the digits make a difference to the number?
What does the place of a digit tell us?
What is the role of zero in a number?
What is the multiplicative relationship in numbers?

We are using calculators, a variety of games, board work and manipulatives to focus on place value in depth.  
  • Students have been surprised that saying numbers becomes easier when you learn the system. 
  • Matching place value blocks with numbers helps some students visualise the value of each digit in a number.
  • We have discussed that the number 10 is very important in our base 10 number system.
  • A student made the connection 1100 is also 11 hundreds. 
  • We've learned that commas placed correctly help us write numbers e.g. 56,780 is written as fifty six thousand, seven hundred and eighty. 
  • Miss Slavka has been exploring patterns on the hundred chart and making counting patterns.
  • We have been deconstructing numbers. For example:
       0     0 x 1              0 ones
     60     6 x 10            6 tens
   700     7 x 100         7 hundreds
 5000     5 x 1000       5 thousands
This also becomes clearer when you say 'x' as 'lots of'.

Today we learned a great game called Dice Rolls that you can play at home too. 
To play:
  1. Take it in turns to throw a die.
  2. Record results in a row on squared paper, which is five squares wide.
  3. Players choose which square to enter each digit in order to make the largest possible number.
  4. Say the numbers out loud to compare.
Please keep playing the place value games and looking out for numbers around you. You could even begin to think about decimal numbers in money. What does that point mean?

22 November 2010

Learning Logs: Mouth Stories

Morgan's visit the other day got me thinking. She suggested that students go home, have an adult tell them a short story and then come to class to retell the story. This is a great way of continuing the oral tradition of handing down stories. It is also a good way to practice using the story framework of an orientation, series of events and a resolution. Students should also add a sprinkling of adverbs and adjectives for good measure!

So that's what we are going to do for our next Learning Log to round off our unit of inquiry. It might be interesting to talk with a grandparent or another relative if that can be arranged. You can retell a favourite story or create a new one.

In addition:
Individual learning tasks where applicable
Maths place value games

Due date: Monday 29th November
Image: kstoolkit.org

18 November 2010

Story Telling

``Every great story deserves a great story telling.``B.B.C. advert

Morgan's visit to our classroom certainly proved this to be true and provided us with a very entertaining morning. She asked the children if they told or listened to 'mouth stories' and proceded to tell us a spooky tale involving a hairy toe(!) and a local tale of Mount Pilatus. I hope the students have passed the stories on to you. 

Morgan told us her inspiration for stories came from listening to other stories and reading a wide range of books. The event reminded us how humans have a shared love of listening to a good story.

In connection with our unit the students have been using 'story mountains' to plan out puppet stories with a partner. Every story has an orientation, a series of events and a resolution. Students have also developed criteria for a successful performance which they will use to assess their performances. Our first show happened in the Celebration of Learning today. It really was funny! Thank you D.B. and H.

One of our unit questions has been: Which stories do you like and why? Students have been sharing their learning logs to help answer this. So far we've found out that C likes books that have jokes and make you laugh, G likes books that have good memories, H likes having a good problem to solve, N likes humour that's a bit gruesome and D.Z. enjoys books about his favourite things. As each student presents we collect the main interests each student has. We've also been finding out some great new adjectives. 'Knee slapping' and 'gut busting' certainly got us talking! More logs next week.

We have been exploring vowels this week too. We used a Brain Pop movie to revise short vowels and then moved on to long vowels. We are collecting rules and finding out what happens to a silent e word when we add a suffix. You can check out some games and movies by clicking the new Spelling Masters blog.

Finally, we wanted to share our wonderful puppets with you. We went through the process of filming with Kathy. We viewed the first take and discussed where we needed to re-shoot. Watch the final film and see our creativity in action!

Puppet Parade from ISOCS on Vimeo.

11 November 2010

ICT Thursday

Today was a fabulous day spent getting to know some new computer applications. ICT can be an amazing creative tool when you know what is out there. Our first task was to learn how to take a screen shot so we could save all our artwork in a new folder.

Last week we wrote beautiful autumn poetry inspired by our walk back from Teuflibach. To reinforce our grammar focus we selected some of the nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs we had used, to create word art using Wordle. These 'illustrations' are now alongside our poems in the classroom.

Our next project was to continue our art doodling as inspiration. We had great fun experimenting with a variety of programs to create imaginative abstract pictures. Now the students know how to do this they can use the programs to inspire or illustrate their writing.

Finally, we learned how to use our web cam to take a shot. This time we made portraits of our puppets and the creator. We then made changes to the portraits using an art program. This activity continued the portrait theme we began earlier in the year.

Try out the programs at home by clicking on the link to the right, under "SPECIAL LIST FOR IT ARTS DAY".

Next Thursday: We are going to look at typing skills programs with Kathy. Here's a link to the BBC program we recommend. Check this page for other software and websites that teach keyboarding skills.

09 November 2010

Place Value Websites

Our next maths focus connected to number and place value is looking at the following key understanding and questions:

KU 4: The whole numbers are in a particular order and there are patterns in the way that we say them which help us to remember the order.
What is place value?
Do numbers have an order?
How do we know what comes next or what came before?
What are whole numbers?
What are digits?
What is a system?
What is a pattern?

Here are some websites for you to use at home to practice your maths skills over the next few weeks. They are connected to our classroom focus on place value.
Image: knitwareblog.com

05 November 2010

What's been happening in mathematics?

Our latest mathematics focus is all about number and place value. I begun this unit by asking the students to do a wide range of tasks which you will see in the portfolio to help me ascertain their understanding about partitioning and place value. We have been looking at the following big ideas and asking questions to help us investigate:

Key Understanding 1: We can count a collection to find out how many are in it.
Question: How does counting work?
Ms. Slavka asked children to prove why 27 was bigger than 26. Sounds easy but it is not enough to say it just is! Students were also given a large collection of lolly sticks and asked to find the quantity. It turned out to be 1000.

Key Understanding 2: We can often see how many are in a collection just by looking and also by thinking of it in parts.
Question: How do we know how ‘many there are’?
Here we looked at random patterns of dots to determine how many there were. We talked about the groupings we used to help us calculate as the number of dots increased. This is know as partitioning numbers into parts. Children began to explain their strategies and learnt that we can see things in different ways. When we put the dots into grids it started to become simpler as we could group numbers more easily. That's the connection to the dot game I sent home. This is also great practice for number bonds. 

Key Understanding 3: We can use numbers in ways that do not refer to quantity.
Question: What are ordinal numbers?
Here we discovered numbers are not just used for counting but identifying a thing's place in a series. We labelled items from 1st to 12th discussing the correct language. One student noticed that st, nd, rd and th matched the end of the word e.g. first. That really helps us when we say much larger numbers. Using ordinal numbers we discussed how in a race each runner has a place. We worked out how to say and write the ordinal number for the 121st runner and beyond. A and G did a fabulous job of explaining all of this in our celebration of learning this week too. This all leads us into the next Key Understanding where we will be investigating the language of place value and the ordering of numbers.

Be on the lookout for numbers all around you. Talk about how they are being used.
Next week I'll be sending links for on line maths games to practice place value at home.

04 November 2010

A story, a story, let it come, let it go........

Kathy and I were looking through our school netvibes site and rediscovered a wonderful on line source of stories. Today in class we listened to the story of Stellaluna. Click here to find more. You'll also find more story sites on our netvibes school home page.

We have also been listening to folktales from Africa. These have inspired our own stories in class too. Click here to go to our unit netvibes site for more Anansi tales.

As you listen to the stories listen out for the structure. Is there an orientation, series of events and a resolution? Keep an ear open for interesting adjectives too.

Image: classdisplays.co.uk

02 November 2010

Your Library - Learning Log

Everybody has a 'library' of their own. Books that have been read to you, books you've shared and then the books you've enjoyed quietly on your own. You'd probably be surprised how big your library is! Think about the discussion we had in class today and the short podcast we listened to.

Next think of five fiction books that really stand out in your library because their memory has stayed with you.

Think of a way to present this library to the class.

We will need to know:
1) The titles of your five books
2) The authors of the books
3) Any reasons for the book being special
4) What makes the story plot itself special and interesting

Use great adjectives to describe these stories.

Be ready to present starting Thursday 11th November.
Image: whangarei-libraries.com

Doodle Art

The latest release from ISOCS Studios!

Doodle Art from ISOCS on Vimeo.

The Middle Primary Class at ISOCS doodles