Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!  I hope you are having a wonderful day and your children are spoiling you!  My mommy is far away, but we did get to chat on the phone.  
I know that my students will be spoiling their mom's because they all did some major crafting this week.  I love how kind and thoughtful my students are - they love giving gifts!

Displaying photo 1.JPG We made heart charms to be worn as pendants on necklaces, or put on a keychain if Mom would prefer.  Students had 5 choices of Fimo clay to choose from.  You can see red was a favourite!    I pulled kids to the rainbow table in groups of 6.  They picked a colour, rolled it out, and used a cookie cutter to cut the heart.  I helped push their thumbprint down to get a good impression.  We then poked a hole with a toothpick.  After I baked them for 15 minutes, we put a jump ring through the hole. 
My twins decided to make one pendant with both of their thumbprints on it.  They overlap, which I think is super cute!  Dawson put his print first, because he said it should since he was born first.   Too funny!

Displaying photo 2.JPGNext up was cards.  I rounded up some crafting supplies and we made some simple but beautiful cards.  Everyone got a 4x4 card base and a paper doily.  They glued the doily around the seam of the card so it was half on the back, and half on the front.  They glued a punched out butterfly and stamped "Thanks for always being there!" on the front.  Inside, they added a "Happy Mother's Day!" stamp.  Of course, they also put a caring note to Mom inside.
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Lastly, they packaged it all up.  I had these envelopes from We R Memory Keepers left over from a card class I once taught.  The 4 corners fold in to the centre.  We put our cards and charms inside, and sealed it with a butterfly.  I think they look great.

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I just hope that everyone remembered to take them out of their agenda pocket on Thursday and hide it before Mom saw it early.  I also hope they remembered where they hid it and brought it out today!!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Author Visit

Today was a very exciting day in my classroom!  We had a special visit from two local "celebrities" (my students are head over heels about these two ladies).  Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton are the authors of 4 books.  We spent several months reading the novels and discussing the concepts.  These books tell the story of Margaret's life in residential school and after. 

Her bio from Annick Press, the book publishers:

Displaying photo 1.JPGMargaret Pokiak-Fenton was born on Holman Island in the Arctic Ocean, en route with her nomadic family to their winter hunting grounds on Banks Island. She spent her early years on Banks Island. Being Inuvialuit, her young childhood was filled with hunting trips by dogsled, and dangerous treks across the Arctic Ocean for supplies, in a schooner known as the North Star. At the age of eight, she travelled to Aklavik, a fur trading settlement founded by her great-grandfather, to attend the Catholic residential school there. Unlike most children, she begged to go to the school, despite the horrific reputation of residential schools. There was nothing she wanted more than to learn how to read.
She later settled in Tuktoyaktuk where her family had relocated. While working for the Hudson’s Bay Company there, she met her future husband Lyle, who was employed on the Dew Line project. She followed him south to Fort St. John. Together they raised eight children.
Margaret is well known for her traditional handmade Inuit crafts and has showcased them at the Northern Arts Festival many times. Most Saturdays she can be found at the local farmer’s market in Fort St. John where she sells her beautifully beaded and adorned crafts and the best bread and bannock in the North Peace.

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Christy spoke a lot about the books and about residential schools in general.  She was really informative and the kids hung on her every word.  She spoke for nearly an hour and they sat so respectfully.  At the end, my students asked some really insightful questions.  I was very proud! 
Fatty Legs is their first book.  I blogged about it here.

When I was Eight is the picture book version of Fatty Legs.  It tells the same story in a more concise form.  It does have some new details that aren't in the novel. 
Their second novel - an 'after the story'.  I blogged about it here.
And then, the picture book version of "A Stranger at Home".  They gave me a signed copy as a gift today!  This book just came out less than a month ago.  After they left we read it immediately!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Adapt! This week, my class is learning about plant and animal adaptations.  We've worked through a few whole class lessons, and felt confident enough to let them do some small group work.  This unit from The Science Penguin is perfect!  You know how you sometimes just get the feeling that your lesson is amazing?  Well, I got that feeling when I was introducing the stations we used from this unit.  The kids were buzzing, I could barely finish getting directions out.  They just wanted to work!  Super cool.  We just completed one day so far - I predict this will take us another 3 days to finish....
This package has 9 lessons in it.  We only used 4.  We did one whole class, and 3 as stations work.  I put them in groups to start, but they are to work independently, and move as they finish up.  They thought it was pretty cool that they could "ditch" their group.  (Their words, not mine!)  I was pretty specific about criteria and I'm hoping these are well done.  Here's a rundown of what we did:

Match it Station
We did this whole class.  In this station, she gives you 4 habitat types and 4 feet.  You need to match the feet to the habitat and justify.  My kids were really good about giving justifications.

Read it Station
This station gives 5 fact cards for plants/animals.  Students need to read the cards and then provide two structural adaptations from each on a graphic organizer.  I did have to help some of my lower readers with the language.  This wasn't a big deal - words like "setae" really aren't common grade 4 vocab!
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Tech it Station
This kids were excited to listen to the videos with their headphones.  They love anything listening centre related.  In this station you need to watch a plant adaptations video, then write and draw about it.  You repeat with an animal adaptations video.  She provided a link to some really great videos.  Unfortunately, my rural school has terrible internet and they weren't loading.  So I had to pick some other videos for them to watch.   We'll try again with the proper videos tomorrow.
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Create it Station
I think this is the station that really sold it for them.  In this station, you are given an animal information card and a habitat information card.  You need to give that animal (who doesn't belong in that habitat, by the way) some structural adaptations so that it could live there.  They then have to label their drawing and justify.  Fun stuff!  I'll try to remember to take some pictures of these once finished to post.  I think they are going to be great!
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As I said, we are only on day 1.  This will take us a while.   But the energy was high today!!  Such a steal at $6!  I am going to have a few other stations ready for early finishers... I just haven't decided which yet.  

*I wasn't asked to give this review - I just really liked this unit and wanted to share my experience with it!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Fitness Stations

My school is small enough, we are fortunate to not have to fight over gym time.  I get 30 minutes in the gym every day!  I structure my gym class by focusing on a sport a month.  We work on skills Monday-Thursday, and play games on Friday.  This month, we are working through some fitness stations!  I really feel like kids are getting too much couch time.  I'm trying to do my part to inspire a healthy lifestyle, in a way where the students are informed and doing the activities safely.  Here's what we did today:

1: Warm up run
Today we did 5 laps around the gym.  As my class comes into the gym, I stand at the door and show them a number with my fingers.  I don't have to say anything; they just look and go!  In September, I start with 3 laps, and add a lap each month.  Because we are doing fitness stations, which can be a bit more strenuous, I'm giving them a break on the laps right now.  

2: Warm up stretches
 We start with the top of the body and work down.  My class understands the importance of proper warm up, finally!  It took a long time to get a few of them to really concentrate on the way they move their body and the speed at which they do it.  We do things like wrist circles, shoulder rolls, and quad stretch.

3: Pulse check
We've been talking about heart rate before and after workouts, and how to properly check your pulse.  We're talking about the range in heart rates from person to person as well.

4: Stations
My class was broken up into 6 small groups.  They had 2 minutes per station.  While I they were exercising, I was walking from station to station to ensure proper form.
We worked through....

Wall pushups
My kids are getting really good at these!  It's been a few weeks, and they are getting visibly stronger.  Their form is really good too.  Traditional pushups are tricky - these are a nice easy way to start off. 

We've been doing lunges for a while now also.  I felt like my kids were going to fast, and bending forward, not down.  To remedy that, they had to keep a beanbag on their heads today.  It worked great!

Rest station
At this station, it's important to stretch and have a drink of water.
Mountain Climbers
These are fun, but tricky.  We're working on keeping a flat back.
High Knees/Kickups
Students had to do 24 high knees (shown below) and then 24 kick ups.  Kick ups are fun, because you get to kick yourself in the butt (or so they tell me it's enjoyable - I don't see the pleasure in it, but whatever!)  This can be made more difficult by increasing your speed.
Windshield Wipers
I couldn't find a picture for this.  This is an abs exercise.  You lay on the floor, with legs bent.  Feet are flat on the floor.  You curl up and using straight arms, swoop and touch your ankles.  The goal is to do as many as you can.  

What did you do in gym today?

Monday, 5 May 2014

TpT hearts Teachers!
Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Teacher Appreciation Sale!  Who doesn't love a sale! Head over to my store on May 6 or 7 and save 20% on all items using the code TPTXO! 

Or, if you'd prefer, here are some links directly to some of my more popular items:

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Currently... May (the 4th)

Better a few days late than never!  Here's my Currently post for May!

No tv, no music.  Just the random car drive by, the clock ticking and the dogs snores.  Lovely.

Jamberry Nails!  They are so much fun!  If you haven't heard of them - you need to.  I love having painted nails, but suck at it.  Jamberry makes plain and patterned nail wraps you just heat up and stick on.  I'm having an online Jamberry party right now.  Want some?  Party lasts for the next 10 days.  Click here for the party page.

This week is a short week - no school Friday.  We've got a lot going on with the Speech contest next week and an author visit on Wednesday.  In math, I'm focusing on comparing and ordering fractions.  We're going to do some work with pattern blocks.  They're great because the pieces can add up to make other pieces (does that even make any sense?).  Anyhow, good for showing parts of a whole.  In science, we're working though a habitat unit, and this week will be all about adaptations.

It's warmed up A LOT in the past few weeks.  So much so, that I only have a teeny tiny patch of snow out front.  Today we went for a walk and then raked the lawn and tidied the walkways.  It was 2 degrees Celsius.  A little warmer would be appreciated, and a lot less wind!

I've been saying I need a haircut for almost 2 months.  Now I really need one.  I don't know what I am waiting for.

I recently purchased "Little Gnome Home" from Krista Wallden at Creative Clips.  I LOVE this clipart set.  The colours are so bright and everyone loves a gnome or two!  I create a fraction colouring page for my class, and am considering making up a big thing for TpT.  Click the picture to go check out Krista's Gnome clipart on TpT.

Now go see Farley and read some more Currently posts!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

New Student!

The neat thing about teaching at a rural school, is you often seen wildlife on the drive to work.  This guy has been visiting my room every day for the last week.  Sometimes he brings friends, sometimes he doesn't.  He stands outside my window, chews on the grass, and listens in.  (Well, I like to think he's listening in.)  He is quite close to the window most days.  Fun!

Poetry Unit

My class has been really busy the past few weeks learning about different types of poetry and trying our hand at them.  I've blogged a bit about this already here.  It is interesting to see student's opinions change over time.  When I told them we would be doing poetry, there was a lot of groaning and moaning.  By the end, especially when we were doing free verse, they were begging me to keep going.  Some even asked to stay in at recess and keep writing!  How fun is that!

And I just have to share this free verse poem.  It's so touching!
Carrots, carrots, 
I love you 
so much.
Please make my eyes
better so I don't
have to wear those
smelly glasses.

Want to inspire your class too?  Check out the options below:

Or, if you prefer I've put all my poetry lessons on TpT in one convenient bundle.  It contains the three you see above, and then some!  My Diamante poems lesson is only available in this bundle.  You're also going to get 7 poetry posters to teach with and display.  These include: acrostic, concrete, colour and more.