Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

After snack and quiet reading, we did some work today on some phonemic awareness.  This is the "...ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes--in spoken words" (http://www.begintoread.com/articles/phonemic-awareness.html). 

As I familiarize myself, and the class, with some lessons from the SMARTBoard website, I can see how they can be very useful in engaging the class.  Here is an example of some work we did when we were looking at the ch sound.

Tomorrow I will select another sound that we will look at.  While not all members of the class has challenges with breaking down words, I found it to be a useful exercise.

The work on subtraction continued today.  I shared with the class the approach to solving the problem from yesterday's class:
I downloaded some lessons on subtraction but did not have a chance to get to them.  We will look at them tomorrow.

I think I made the video of Jack and Stavroula (mostly Jack explaining) smaller so it will fit on the blog.  Along with Sandro and George, they correctly explained how to solve the problem to the left using the Base 10 material.  It was interesting that Jack used the idea of cancelling out cubes (eliminating them or subtracting them).  We will continue our work on subtracting, I suspect, for another couple of weeks before we explore another topic or strand. Here is the video.

In the afternoon we talked a little more about the narrative paragraph we are working on and what a narrative paragraph does.  Again, I used a video from the SMARTBoard website to assist us.  I meant to take a photo of the main screen but did not.  I will do so tomorrow when we resume talking about this.

While the Band students were out, the remaining students completed the online surveys for the Strength Based Resilience project.  Once all of the surveys begin, we will begin working this into a big portion of the Second Term work.  The students will take a survey now, take part in the program, and then do a survey afterwards to see if they have had any change in attitude or perspective.

Homework:  Only page 28 of Math

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mr. Moye began the day by talking with the students about the lunch hour House league he will be setting up for the Grade 7 and 8 students.  I get the sense that the TDSB Physical Education department is thinking about how they can play a bigger role in encouraging students to be healthier.

As part of his talk, Mr. Moye also spoke about the healthy cooking program that each Senior division would be taking part in.  I get the sense that they are trying to create life long learners in terms of body awareness and being healthy.  The sign up sheet for floor hockey was given to me.  I know, as a class, we will be cooking a healthy meal at some point, but I am not sure when this will be.

The class had Music with Mr. Chung today.  During Community Circle, I notice that students are doing a better job at using the "Success Criteria" chart to frame their stories from the weekend.
ignore the second "when" it has been crossed out on the updated chart
We did not get around to the subtraction lesson which involved re-grouping or borrowing.  There was a short quiz on subtraction (without borrowing) and everyone passed it.  As for the issue of regrouping,  I downloaded some lessons from the SMARTBoard lesson plan site, which I will use with the class. 

To introduce the topic,  I decided to do with the class was create a Think-Pair-Share activity.  This presented a problem for the pairs of students to solve.  I let them use Base 10 materials to answer the following question:
Base 10 manipulatives
There were a few groups which shared their ideas with the class about how to solve the question.  I will review it again tomorrow with the group, along with taking up the homework.  I tried to upload the videos but was unsuccessful. 

Hoomework:  Complete p. 25 of the Math sheet

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One of the expectations for Language for this term has to do with the writing process.  It is my goal to teach the class how to write a paragraph.  This is in line with one of the expectations of generating ideas, using an organizer of some sort, to assist them in their writing.  The model for how this will come together is something like this:

We are continuing and re-engaging in a Writing/Art project which relates to a key moment in the lives of the class members.  We started this in Term 1 but did not get to finish.  Yesterday, each student summarized and shared that event.  The sharing was designed to activate some thinking about something they did once before.

 For homework, and I may not have recorded this on the blog yesterday, I apologize, the class had to come up with 5 sentences.  The group already has a graphic organizer to list some of the ideas for the paragraph based on this key event.  I used the Interactive White Board to model my notes and a sample sentence.  At the time of the writing of this blog, Ms. Machado is checking to see who did and did not do the homework.

There will be another round of reviewing Subtraction and playing of some of the Math games we did yesterday. There will be a final sheet review of subtraction (without borrowing) before a short quiz.  I will then get into the topic of Subtraction, with borrowing, tomorrow.  This is an area most students have some challenge with.  My preparations for that lesson will have to be carefully thought out.

The students will be preparing for a short quiz tomorrow.  The review sheet I mentioned will have a little creativity to it.  Each student will create 10 questions and answers on a piece of paper.  They will exchange it with a peer in the classroom, solve it and then return it to the owner for checking.  Here is an image I managed to save from the Interactive White Board explaining what they were to do:
For homework, each student will get a copy of a "Study Quiz" created by a peer in the class.  It will be marked in the morning by the person who created it.  After some review there will be a short quiz .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We are starting another unit on Number Sense today.  After re-introducing the concept of subtraction, the class will play some online Math games as a fun, informative exercise.  Here are the links to a couple of sites we will be looking at this morning:

This first game is meant to be a fairly easy transition back into the concept of subtracting.

The second site has an excellent list of games  that the students may try.

This particular unit will be taught using the progressive method found in the JUMP Math program.  I have found that this method, combined with other resources, makes the students feel more confident and competent in the subject at hand.

Here are some images from this morning's activities with the Math games.  One group used the Interactive White Board to play the games.

(Steven's Wall Art was added to yesterday's post.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It is safe to say that we are now officially into the second and final term of the school year.  The IEPs (Individual Education Plans) will be sent home next week and I will provide a short summary of what they mean in language that is not too confusing.

I returned copies of the Reading Comprehension test on energy drinks.  I was pleased to see that the class is improving in this area.  They are using information from the article to help them answer the questions.  I will continue working on developing  reading comprehension strategies but I selected another expectation to comment on for this Term's report card that has to do with reading with fluency and developing skills to break words and their sound parts down.  This will be useful for some of the students who experience difficulty with pronouncing words, sometimes known as "word attack" skills.

In our current Read-a-loud, I have selected Kenneth Opel's Half Brother.  It is fictional but based on the story of the family who adopts a chimp in an attempt to teach it American Sign Language in the 1970s.  We watched the documentary in class called Project Nim.  Here is the trailer from Youtube.  Each of the class members wrote a very interesting journal response on whether humans should attempt to raise chimpanzees.
In another activity from a book we read (Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture), the students did some Wall Art.  This was an extension of a journal activity we did in the Fall.  Basically, if you could paint or write on your wall, what would you say or do?  Here are some of the images from our collection:




Zhao Lun




There is no homework this evening.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is a video that was played in front of the school (both The Grove and AMG) at our "Strengths and Struggles" assembly this morning.  I am very pleased with the work the class did for this.  It took a lot of courage to share this information in the Community Circle (on Monday) and for those students who agreed to take part in the video taping.

Here are some photos from this morning's assembly.
Donna Jodham - Blind Activist (link to her blog:http://donnajodhan.blogspot.com/)

Grove Kindergarten class doing a Sign Language Song

The Grade 2 students perform a Readers Theatre piece from the book Tacky the Penguin (http://www.amazon.ca/Tacky-Penguin-Helen-Lester/dp/0395562333)

Grove students at the start of their creative dance on honouring and respecting difference

Velvet, from The Grove, with the lyrics from Will.I.Am.'s What I Am (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyVzjoj96vs)

I think that there is a growing awareness that people (students and adults) learn in different ways and difference does not always mean "bad" or refer to a deficiency someone may have.  I hope it will serve as a transition point for getting more into the Strength Based Resiliency work that is scheduled to start very soon.  A teacher manual was sent out to us for review and it will help guide through the program.  More details to follow.  I may have posted this image before, but this is a really loose description of the program and the goal it hopes to accomplish:
Aware of Character Strengths  = ability to deal with difficulties or challenges when you encounter them

The intensity of Term 2 work (now until June) will slowly begin over the next couple of days.  Once the report cards are shared and interviews/conferences are done, Term 2 will be officially in high gear.  The updated IEPs will go home towards the end of the month, along with a short summary of our plans for the second and final term of the school year.

HOMEWORK:  Bring back the completed portions from page 3 and 4 of the report card once it has been discussed with your parent or guardian

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Since Micha's presentation it ushered in a really good opportunity to speak about Learning Differences in the class.  For a number of students, they have difficulties understanding the concept of equal not always being the same.

There are times, in class, when certain students may "appear" to be receiving extra help.  For a number of students this is "not fair" but when it is discussed in the context of different students having different needs and accommodations, there seems to be a little more understanding.  This conversation will continue as we continue to discuss the issues of Learning Differences, Strengths and Struggles in our classroom.

The theme of difference, along with Strengths and Struggles, is the theme for an upcoming assembly in the school.  I am hoping to capture some of the voices of the students from Room 52 for Tuesday's assembly.  To model this theme, I did a chart of my Strengths and Struggles:
To be continued.
Homework:   Be prepared to discuss and explain 2 strengths and 1 struggle during Community Circle.  Have a restful weekend.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nick provided us with some details about the Student Council meeting.  He told us about the possibility of a school Dance which may happen.  Also, there may be a volunteer opportunity at the Senior's home close to the school.  The class had a few questions that they would like Nick to bring back to the Student Council executive when he meets with them later on this week.

In the afternoon, we went out for a walk just before we settled into starting the Reading test on energy drinks.  The community walk was meant to calm and relax them.  This is very important when the class has no rotary in the afternoon.

Over the past couple of days, we continues our discussions going about Black History Month.  I have been weaving our discussions into Canadian History so the students have some context for our discussions.  Today we talked a little bit about the Black Loyalists who came from the United States, as former slaves, to fight for the British, along with Underground Railway.

Yesterday afternoon we had a visit from Ms. Zachariah's son, Micha, to talk with our class about Learning Disabilities and how he has learned to cope with ADD.  This afternoon I am going to do a refresher on what he discussed yesterday and ask the students for a Journal response.  It was a very informative discussion, along with a number of questions from the audience.  Here are some photos:
A captive audience
Ms. Zachariah and Micah

I am going to combine the photos from yesterday's Reading Buddy session with a couple of photos from our outside play from last Friday.  The activity we worked on with the Kindergarten students was in honour of the 100th day of school, which is today.
Ms. Bennett helping explain
Each group had to work together to place 10 stickers on each strip
10 stickers x 10 strips = 100 stickers for each day of school
Outside Play

Outside Play

Friday, February 3, 2012

Post #100!!: Friday, February 3, 2012

This statue was put up in honour of the 100th blog posting.

We did a review for the Math quiz today, based on yesterday's homework questions.  We walked through each question and I asked each student in the class to participate to explain something before we moved on.  This way we are able to review and work towards what the question is asking.  Although you may not be able to see the details of the question, here is one of them we worked on, using the SMARTBoard:
The test will be marked this weekend and returned to the students on Monday.

Before we reviewed for the Math quiz, we had a very engaging discussion on other aspects of the African diaspora (how people who have roots in Africa are all over the world).  I thought it was important that the students know that Africa is a continent made up of many regions and people.

One continent, many people and nations

Ghanaian students at school (West Africa)

Ethiopians preparing for "The Great Run" (East Africa)

George asked an interesting question about why some people use the term African American.  I explained that a lot of the African diaspora is around the world because of the effects of the Slave Trade.

For many, including me, the Transatlantic Slave Trade is often referred to as the African Holocaust yet it explains why there are so many people of African descent around the world, particularly in North and South America, and Europe.
To explain this in terms that the students may find easier to relate to, consider the makeup of the Brazilian soccer teams:
Add caption
Brazil's 2009 squad
There may be more photos posted at a later time about our day.
Triangle trade of African slaves

Homework:  Final questions on energy drinks