Friday, 31 January 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday again already!  Where oh where did my week go?  My class is doing swimming lessons this week and next week.  We traveled to town 3 days this week.  When we were at school, we did the FSA tests (a B.C. government assessment given in grade 4 and 7).  So, we didn't find much time to actually be at school.

AND today was a Professional Development day, so no school for the kiddies.  I mentioned in my last Five for Friday, that my Language Arts LSA was hosting a SMARTLearning conference today.  It was actually about math (I know, that sounds weird, but seriously it links together).  So, I'm going to share 5 things of the day.


SMARTLearning ladies are absolutely wonderful.  Judy Street came from Pentiction to guide us through our learning today.  I should have got a picture of me and Judy.  I didn't.  She was so lovely.  Very helpful and inspiring lady.  I can't wait until we meet again.


I learned that I'm doing the right things in math, they just aren't focused and reflective enough.  I need to integrate more personal goal setting and fine tune the way students share their work with one another.
 

I was reminded that I have so many great math picture books sitting on my shelves.  I need to read them and use them!  Here are some favourites I need to dust off:
This book is about perimeter and area.  We had the afternoon to create a math task, and myself and a colleague did a lesson for this book.  I probably won't be at a point where I can use it for 6 to 8 weeks, but when I am.... I'll be ready!
 
There is a whole series of Sir Cumference books.  I have several.  This particular book is all about place value and base ten blocks.  Great for great 2 or a refresher for 3 and 4.
 
Greg Tang makes several great math books.  The one above is about multiplication, of course.  His books have math rhymes/riddles and an accompanying picture.  I usually don't read the entire riddle, because the end gives a strategy, and I want my kids to tell me the strategy.  It's best to project these pictures under the document camera.
 


Sometime very soon my students and I will be discussing the "traits of a mathematician".  We talk a lot about what good readers do, and what good writers do, but never what good mathematicians do.  *forehead smack* Why, oh why, haven't I done this already?  I really hope that through this they will realize the importance of perseverance when completing a math task.


 A final thought for when you are structuring your math lessons.  This is from an article we read today titled "Unlocking Children's Math Potential: 5 Research Results to Transform Math Learning" by Jo Boaler. 

If we are serious about encouraging students to develop growth mindsets we need to provide open tasks that have the space within them for learning, not short tasks that students are meant to get right or wrong.  Tasks are made more open when they have or encourage:

- multiple entry points
- multiple ways of seeing
- multiple pathways and strategies for solutions



Now, head on over to DoodleBugs Teaching for more Five for Friday posts!
http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/

Friday, 24 January 2014

Five for Friday


http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/  It's been a while since I've done a Five For Friday post.  If you don't know about these, it's a weekly linky from Doodle Bugs Teaching.  Click the picture to the left to head over and join the party!  Anyhow, I haven't blogged much at all since November really.  I just haven't had the time it seems.  I'm trying to get better.  My kids do so many great things that need to be shared with the world.  I'm involved in several committees that do good things for kids.  In fact, last night I was laying in bed making a mental list of all the things I needed to do for my committees/collaborations and thought it might be perfect for a Five For Friday post.  So, here we are:
http://nbcrsf.wordpress.com/ Science Fair!  I'm involved in organizing our school fair and the regional fair this year.  This is my third year with the regional fair.  I'm on the activities committee and this year, I've added on being ethics chair.  I'm really enjoying that position, because students from all around the district need to email me for permission with any projects relating to humans or animals.  I'm feeling so inspired by all of their impressive ideas.  I wish I could see the end result of all their projects.  I'll be on the lookout for a few of them at regionals, that's for sure. 
Right now I need to focus on the school fair.  It's only a month away!  My kids are trucking along with their projects.  There's a few really original ideas in my classroom.  For all but two, this is their first science fair project.  I know they were really overwhelmed at the beginning.  So far, students have picked their project, done some research, created their question and hypothesis and written a list of materials.  On Monday, we will be talking about the procedure, which I think is the trickiest part before you actually begin the project.  You have to be really specific.  Throughout it all, I've been referencing my Scientific Process poster set, which you can find on TpT.
Click the picture to go to my TpT store!

 Last night, I had a meeting with my Language Arts LSA group.  We are hosting a presentation next Friday, on the Pro-D day.  I'm so excited to have another round of SmartLearning training!  (You can read about my first conference in October here.)  This time, we will be learning about math the SmartLearning way.  I'm really excited to hear about the integration opportunities, especially with the way the new B.C. curriculum is looking.  I've got to remember to pick up the food next Friday morning!

 I'm also working on an inquiry project with two colleagues from my school.  We are looking at writing and how to improve writing scores as well as student interest towards writing.  We are hoping to improve these aspects though specifically teaching the 6 Traits.  We also want to teach students about having a growth mindset.  If you are unfamiliar with the mindset idea, you need to read Carol Dweck's book by the same name.  Though I didn't find it all applicable to teaching, and don't really enjoy reading self help books, I did find some valuable information in there. 
Essentially, there are two types of mindsets.  Fixed and Growth.  Those with a growth mindset see hard tasks as challenges to overcome and seek joy from the effort put in.  We're going to start these lessons next week. 
I need to take some pictures of the awesome bulletin board I'm making inspired by the picture shown here!
 I'm on the PBIS committee for my school.  We had a collaboration on Monday morning.  Our next big event is Pink Shirt day.  It falls on a crazy week with a language arts collaboration, science fair, and a carnival.  So I really hope it doesn't get lost in the mix.  We plan to promote it early and with some buddies activities. 
 Item number 5 is that I'm exhausted.  I'm out the door to a friend's place to watch a movie with the girls.  Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, 17 January 2014

How big is that pencil?

I've been busy creating again!  It seems once I get started I get the bug for a while and can't stop.  I'm really excited to use these cards in my classroom.  Even in grade 4, students still have confusion surrounding measuring.  They aren't sure if they measure from the edge of the ruler, from the zero, from the one... What do you do if the thing you are measuring doesn't go exactly to a line?

Most items available are in inches.  Being that I live in Canada, these cards work in centimetres.  This set of 18 measurement task cards provides students an opportunity to practice measuring objects to the nearest cm and half cm. Measurements range from 1 cm to 20 cm. A little extra thinking is involved because some of the pencils do not line up with the edge of the ruler.

These cards can be used in small group/centre situations or in a game of Scoot! A recording sheet is included. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Measurement-Task-CardsScoot-Centimeters-1062639

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Teaching About Indigenous Cultures of Canada

Teaching students about the Indigenous cultures of Canada is a huge part of Truth and Reconciliation.  Sadly, it's a topic a lot of teachers stray away from because they don't want to misrepresent or misinform on this important topic.  Even more sad, is the fact that there aren't many comprehensive, ready to use resources available to teachers.

In my experience, there's a lot of worksheet tasks, but nothing interactive, hands-on, or with an inquiry approach for students.  With this unit I wanted to make things more interesting for Canadian teachers and students.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Canadas-Indigenous-People-First-Nations-Inquiry-Based-Unit-1062417

What's Included?
♥ Guiding Inquiry Questions
- 6 samples are included
♥ Lesson 1: Introduction to Culture
- Article
- Web activity
- Venn diagram
♥ Lesson 2: What are Basic Needs?
- Web
- Article
- Ticket out the Door
- Cut and paste sorting activity
♥ Lesson 3: Indigenous Place Names in Canada
- Mapping activity with place names and their meanings for provinces and territories, capital cities, and other communities across Canada
- Bonus activity specific to British Columbia
Lesson 4: Indigenous Technology
- Powerpoint lesson
- Student prediction and recording sheet
- Anchor charts
Lesson 5: Indigenous Structures
- 4 Articles (Longhouses, Teepees, Igloos, and Wigwams)
- Jigsaw activity with interactive notebook pieces
Lesson 6: Totem Poles
- 3 articles (types of totem poles, symbols, colours)
- options for making your own class totems with samples and instructions
♥ Lesson 7: Indigenous Storytelling
- Mentor text suggestions
- Lesson plan for students to write their own legends
♥ Lesson 8: Inquiry Research Project
- Research project partner planning sheet
- Options for student recording pages
- Poster blackline master
- 2 Options for assessment
- Student work samples
♥ Lesson 9: Treaties
- Article
- Numbered Treaties anchor chart
- Research project instructions and assessment
♥ Assessment
- Study sheet, test, answer key

This unit aligns to curriculum across the country!
- British Columbia, Grade 3/4
- Alberta, Grade 5
- Saskatchewan, Grade 4
- Manitoba, Grade 5
- New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Grade 5
- Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Grade 2 (Some modifications may need to be required at this grade level.)

I hope these files help inspire you to teach your students about the Indigenous cultures of Canada.  Leave me a comment if you have any questions!


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Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Scientific Method

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Scientific-Method-Posters-1055385

A poster set for your classroom or school hallway to help students learn the scientific method. Each step of the process is explained and contains guiding questions to help students think critically at each stage.

You can use this set to teach the process by projecting it in the classroom, and then display printed versions to serve as an anchor chart later. Any age group doing a science fair project will benefit from these posters.

You will receive 6 8x11 posters:
♥ Ask a Question
♥ Form a Hypothesis
♥ Make a list of Materials
♥ Create & Conduct an Experiment
♥ Draw Conclusions
♥ Analyze your Results

The Holiday Season

Okay, it's been way too long since I've posted here.  I don't know what's happened - the Christmas season just got away with me and I was too busy and too tired to post.  Forgive me.  Here are some of the things we've been up to since I last posted:

In art, we created these super cute Catching Snowflakes pictures with oil pastels.  This is not my idea - I found it on Pinterest.  We freehand drew these - there was no pencils allowed.  That was a little freaky for some of them.  The snowflakes are punched out of cardstock with one of two different scrapbooking punches.  Parents loved this project.  It was neat to turn the corner in the hallway and see several people staring at the board and complimenting them!

Our class elf arrived on December 1st.  The students named him Bilbo.  (They're all obsessed with the Hobbit right now).  These are some of my favourite things Bilbo got up to.
He had a snowball fight with some Lego folks.

We were really loud one day.  He hid up high the next day.
A student left Bilbo some chocolate.  Yum!


Another freehand artwork project.  Students had to cut out each with no drawing first.  These are 3 of my favourites.
Love the braids on the toque.

The emotion in this is awesome!

The hair is so cute!


We went snowshoeing!  So much fun!

Scaredy Squirrel came to visit on the last day of school.  He brought his new book for us to read.  I brought in the supplies for every child to make a gingerbread house.   One chapter of this book is all about how to build a sturdy gingerbread house.  He uses glue and duct tape.  My students decided that royal icing would be a better choice for them.
 Before being able to to create their houses, students had to sort their supplies.  They created a bar graph and wrote the fractions for each type of candy.  Scaredy also left us permits for our houses.

Hard at work.