28 February 2011

Personal Connections (Homework) 28.2.11

The following tasks are for the week ahead:

  1. Practice your addition and subtraction skills by playing the games I have sent home today. You can find new ways of extending or simplifying the games. Use the double sided number line sheet to practice adding or subtracting tens numbers e.g. 20 + 90 = 110. Also record the number bond that helps you with this e.g. 2 + 9 = 11 by each number line. (You might need to improvise with the dice. You could use number cards, playing cards or make numbered pieces of paper. If you are feeling creative you can make dice with instructions at this site.)
  2. Spelling words for my two groups
  3. Daily reading averaging 10 minutes per day
  4. Do a five finger check for each book you take home. (I've re-posted the steps below.) Is your choice of book matching the criteria?

The Five Finger Test 
When a student selects a new book, they read a page and put a finger up for every word they don't know or don't understand. The scale is this:
  • 0 fingers: Easy to read, have fun but remember to try other books too.
  • 1-2:        Just right, enjoy!
  • 3:           Challenging but try it if you like it.
  • 4:           Very challenging, try reading with a partner or parent.
  • 5:           Too hard, save it for later or have someone read it to you.
Hand in date for number line sheets only: Monday 6th March
Hand image: burning-ver.com

24 February 2011

Highlights of the Week

We started off our week by exploring a new computer website called Writing Fun. We used this to write a recount about February break. We have written recounts regularly over the year so I was looking to see if the students used the framework correctly. By this I mean did the students write an orientation, put events in logical order and write a conclusion. We discussed the language features we use when writing a recount. These include time sequence words to help order events (e.g. during, previously, the next day, first), as well as descriptive sentences to describe significant events in detail. In the photo you can see the students reading their recount to a partner who then gave feedback giving one compliment and one suggestion for improvement. These recounts will be put in our portfolios as an assessment piece.
On Tuesday our new unit Rights and Responsibilities started off with a thinking routine called 3 2 1 Bridge. I asked students to write on post it notes something/s they thought they knew about rights and/or responsibilities, questions they might have at this early stage and then complete the sentence 'Rights and responsibilities are.....' We have documented our thinking by putting up the poster in our room. It's a great way for me to find out what ideas the students are bringing to the new unit. It will fascinating to see what the students write next time we do this routine. We talked about how it is really important in our class that we share what we are thinking and that we listen and respond respectfully to each others' ideas.
Today we used all the water colour skills we have been acquiring to paint spring branches and tulips. Students first decided how to arrange their compositions, they organised their materials and chose the paper size to use. Then students sketched with soft pencil and decided if they wanted to add a black permanent pen outline on top. I could see a number of techniques being used today. Some students experimented with applying warm colours first, drying the paper so the next layer of colours did not merge and then applying cooler colours to great effect. Some students used soft watery colours, others used less water to create bolder colours. As well as having a classroom filled with the beautiful colour of the flowers, the atmosphere was so relaxed with artists fully engaged with the creation of such diverse and beautiful paintings. We continued our artists' workshop during today's Celebration of Learning and demonstrated our talents for the Senior and Junior classes. Two mobiles display the students' paintings in our classroom.


Plus this week:
We have been practising counting on and back in tens, making connections between number bonds and bigger numbers e.g. 3 + 4 helps us with 30 + 40, adding and subtracting tens numbers, playing new number games, completing individual addition and subtraction assessment tasks with Miss Judy, handwriting, trying out a new thinking routine called Think, Puzzle, Explore, reading our new unit library books, using our new unit wiki..............

20 February 2011

New Unit and Learning Log

Welcome back to a new unit of inquiry! Our fourth unit is called Rights and Responsibilities and comes under the organising theme of Who We Are
Central Idea: We cannot have rights without responsibility.
An inquiry into:
·          What we think our rights are, and should be
·          What responsibilities we must take to make these rights a reality
·          What happens if people do not keep to their responsibilities
·          Why all communities make and revise agreements about rights and responsibilities in order to live together.
To this we will make links with our next writing focus Writing to Persuade. We will also be looking at how art uses colour and text, with a look at advertising and how the artistic format is used to persuade. We'll be making persuasive posters linked to our unit too.
Be ready for some new persuasive skills being tried out on you in the next few weeks!
In maths we will be moving from addition and subtraction into multiplication and division, with an emphasis on understanding what these concepts really mean and how they are connected. Calculation will be a part of this but not the main focus.
**Check out the link to our class visit this Friday. You'll find it in the right column. The water exhibition in St. Gallen makes a meaningful link between our last unit and the new unit.** 
This week's Learning Log:
I would like each student to create a log expressing both their likes and dislikes. This will help us get to know each other better, as well as introducing the idea of persuasion. Each student will present explaining why they like or don't like something. 
e.g. I like .............because...........; I don't like..............because..............
Due date: Monday 28th February
What is a Learning Log?
Here are some ideas for what a learning log can look like from the beginning of the year slide show:

03 February 2011

Wrapping Up and Chinese New Year

Today our Water for Life unit came to an end. We spent the morning looking back and recording what we've learned. First of all I turned our inquiry points into questions and we used these to do an activity called a carousel. Students brainstormed the things they had learned connected to each point.
  • What are the sources of water and how is water used?
  • What happens to water after we have used it?
  • How is water distributed and does everyone have it?
  • What are our responsibilities to water?
  • Other things about water

Then we made individual headlines of the big ideas we are taking away from the unit. These will go in our portfolios. Some students shared their headlines in today's celebration of learning.

Here's a link to the Water Video Kathy made for us that helped us think about all the interesting things we've learned. (It's also on our wiki.) Over the holiday have a look at the final wiki post and add your thoughts.

Today was the first day of the year of the rabbit. To help us find out about the Chinese New Year H told us the legend of how the animals were chosen. He also helped us work out which Chinese zodiac year we were born in and we coloured in our animal's picture. We discovered the dates for this calendar are worked our using the moon. H ended by sharing fortune cookies with us. According to my slip of paper my dream might come true very soon! Thank you H for the interesting presentation. You can find more information at the website H used.

H reads the legend of how the zodiac signs were chosen.
We find out our Chinese zodiac animal by looking at the wheel and finding our birth year.
Coming soon: Rights and Responsibilities