Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

After Gym we began to explore our Science unit on the Human Body.  The students have done some initial brainstorming about what they know about the body.  We used jot notes to get the information written down instead of writing sentences.  This skill will come in handy when we begin doing a research project on the body.

We watched a Bill Nye video on the various body systems and had the students take some more jot notes, which I reviewed and was very pleased with.  With the exception of a couple of students, there was sufficient information written down.  This growing familiarity the students are developing will make our conversations in class easier and, I hope, interesting!

As we were reading the book, Half Brother, an interesting issue came up about animal testing.  In the book, based on the incidents surrounding the documentary, Project Nim, they mention how NASA sent up 2 chimps to outerspace to see how they would respond to the change in pressure and atmosphere.  With a computer handy, we looked up the image of the Life magazine cover of the chimps.  I then proceeded to ask a question -- for the journals -- on the ethics of using animals for testing.

It will be interesting to read the responses and provide a forum for a discussion about ethical matter.

We were planning to begin our next unit in Math but ran out of time.  We did prepare some counters for a game tomorrow involving the coordinate plane.

Our work on our SBR (Strength Based Resiliency) will resume tomorrow.  The quote I posted by Nelson Mandela on Tuesday's blog has been changed a bit but is now on the Word Wall in the classroom.  The idea of being able to bounce back from spending 25 + years in prison is inspiring.  I hope the spirit of being able to "bounce back" will be helpful for the students in Room 52.
Nelson Mandela

Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned)
Some words for our Word Wall (defined to assist in some of the in class exercises)

A group exercise looking at past and future uses of the skill set of being resilient 

HOMEWORK:  Complete any necessary improvements to the Science work (title page, jot notes), complete journal on animal testing, have Math tests from last week signed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

After checking the homework this morning, each member of the class shared an example of a topic sentence for his or her paragraph.  Some of the students were confused were guided back to the idea of what the purpose of a topic sentence is.  I like the fact that some of the guiding comes from other members of the class and not just from me.

The next phase of this activity will involve developing the body of the paragraph where the students will come up with 3 supporting details to elaborate on the topic sentence.

We began a journey into the human body today in Science.  The students created a title page and brainstormed what they know about the human body and how it works.  I have ordered a kit and videos from the TDSB to support and enhance what we will be learning about in class.

The students had Library this morning and some members of the class had Band.

In the afternoon, I read -- as I typically do-- and we worked on our cursive selection for the day.  For a group of 6 students, they had an intense review session for a Math quiz tomorrow morning on subtraction.  We will be starting another unit in a day or two.

I am proud to say that we are on track to begin working on the Strength Based Resiliency project.  The students will be working in small groups tomorrow and have some homework from this project.  A number of students remembered some of the discussions we had and I think this will be an important project for them.    I will comment more at a later time.

 HOMEWORK:  Complete Science title page and brainstorm; Rewrites for Math test tomorrow morning

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Every Monday we pick up on a regular post-weekend routine of doing a Community Circle.  This activity ties nicely into our narrative paragraph writing.  While we do the Community Circle in the morning, in the afternoon we went through each member of the class who shared a topic sentence.  Aside from a few members in the class who had some difficulties, the group was able to understand what the purpose of a topic sentence is:

HOMEWORK:  Complete Topic Sentence starter chart using "significant event".

There was once last performer today for the Movement exercise but did not want to be filmed. The last movie is here:

videoThere are a few pictures I would like to add.

Sophie's trip to Washington

Jack creating a topic sentence
Journal question on Racism
Zhou Lun creating an interesting fact for his topic sentence

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The second video of our movement presentations is now complete.  I did not have the correct cable at home to be able to complete the final video.
We actually got to watching a portion of the video which relates to the documentary, A Class Divided which I posted last Wednesday.  The link for the full video, on Google Videos can be found at this link

We will probably look at the video a little more but I wanted the class to get a sense of how the Grade 3 students grappled with some of the issues of Racism and discrimination.  I want to continue the conversation with the students on the importance of not discriminating against others based on Race, Class, Gender, or Sexuality.

As the week came to a close, the class learned more about the possible ways of creating topic sentences.  Using a lesson from the SMARTBoard, we had volunteers come to the the board to create possible sentences.  Here is a photo of George.  He created a topic sentence by using an interesting fact:
While there are many ways to create an effective topic sentence, we discussed the importance of capturing the attention of the audience.  The items circled are the ones we used during the lesson.  This will be continued on Monday.

HOMEWORK:  Journal on working to end Racism

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another video will be coming but it does take some time to download them and then make them into a short production.

A second, and final, subtraction quiz took place today.  Mrs. Machado marked them but I have to go through them before returning them to the students.

We began to talk today about the significance of March 21 being The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  This event is based on a protest which took place in Sharpeville, South Africa, 52 years ago.  Here is a short clip we watched about it in class today:
To give that event some context I presented some of the issues behind the Apartheid system in South Africa and then had the students come up with some of the things they know about Racism.
 This discussion will continue tomorrow and I plan to share with them some clips from the Jane Elliot experiment, Blue Eyed, Brown Eyed.  Here is a preview:

We were off to Reading Buddies today.  It now takes place every 2 weeks until the school schedule switches after Easter. 

Over the course of March Break, the class received a nice letter from The Daily Bread Food Bank, thanking the class for the donations.  Here is the letter we received:
HOMEWORK:  Complete Reading Response on bullying for Thursday

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I am going to attempt to create a couple of videos from the movement performances we have been doing in class.  The Math tests were returned and I have decided to do another quiz -- a much shorter one-- after doing some in depth review of how to borrow.  A Study Sheet will be available as a helpful reminder along with a refresher in the morning.

Here is the edited video of scenes from the performers from Monday and Tuesday.  Enjoy.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Before I continue, I wish everyone a happy and safe March Break.

In preparation for our Dance and Movement performances we have spent some time in class rehearsing, along with me modelling  an example of what is expected from the class.  Even though we did not perform today (the Math test took longer than expected), the students will be able to rehearse over the Break and we will perform them once we return.  I am going to attach how the performances will be evaluated so the students can look at it over the Break.
Evaluation Dance and Movement

The IEPs went home on Wednesday along with two letters explaining how the document works along with details about the Strength Based Resiliency project.  That project will begin after March Break and I will find a way of integrating into the Language expectations outlined in the IEP.

A new Math strand will begin once we return. As I mentioned in some previous blog entries, we will be winding up our short Number Sense unit with a subtraction test.  For homework this week, we had some word problems involving subtraction.  We spent some time reviewing how to approach word problems.  Students often find this difficult.  Here is the format we used to "break down" a problem solving question:
So, Math, to a degree, becomes a form of reading comprehension and encourages some critical thinking by breaking down something into smaller parts.

Although I have not looked at them yet, I have journals to assess from our discussion on IWD (International Women's Day).  Using the SMARTBoard, we brainstormed some ideas and then did a journal response on a woman, in their lives, who have been important to them.  To assist them with their response, I used a writing prompt to help them start.
Emphasis on details to explain
some ideas from the SMARTBoard

In my years of teaching, I have always said that the school year races by once March Break is over.  Spring is a really nice time of year and I look forward to some more outings with the class.  For now, it is time for a rest.
Homework:  The TDSB does not allow for homework over school breaks.  I did not assign any new work.  Only the Dance and Movement performances were pushed until after the March Break.  Page 5 of the IEP needs to be returned along with the  Grade a photo money  need to be back by March 21.  Scholastic orders are due on Monday, March 19.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To bridge some of the ideas for the writing of the narrative paragraph, I decided to fuse in a Dance and Movement exercise.  Going through a movement exercise will activate parts of the brain that may not happen when you just sit down with pen and paper to create a piece of writing.
For homework last night, and work in class today, the students used this framework from the TDSB, taken from the The Treasure Chest publication:

The students were to think about the topic (which was the important event they went through) and how they could communicate that with the audience by drawing on the four areas outlined in the chart.  I was hoping to model this for the students, but I am away from school today.   I will do this tomorrow.

We have been doing some comprehensive review on subtraction.  Each student was required to create a study sheet (the weekend's homework) that was going to be shared with other members of the class.  Emphasis, at this stage, is on practice and I hope to have a final test done before the students leave for March Break.

The IEP (Individual Education Plans) will be going home tomorrow, along with a brief explanation of the Strength Based Resilience program we will be starting in Room 52.  I am in the final stages of doing online questionnaire about each student. Once this is done, I will be able to proceed with the project.

Homework:  Complete Math review sheets if they were not done in class


Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday and Friday, March 1 & 2, 2012

UPDATE:  Kenny's Wall Art was added to the page with all of the other examples of the class.

The Number Sense unit on subtraction is coming to an end.  We are now working on some Word Problems involving borrowing and will be doing a pre-quiz on Monday that will not be graded but will look like what the final test looks like.  I may even have the students design a Math review sheet before the test to provide them with some extra practice.

Throughout this unit, I have been emphasizing that subtraction simply involves the skill of being able to add up from the lower number to get to the higher one:

 Another technique we have been using, when checking the homework, is very similar and involves adding the answer to the lower of the two number combinations so it will add up to the numeral on the top.  Here is an example from the SMARTBoard:
We have been spending some more time in trying to understand what we are reading.  I have found that this new Reading Response form I am using provides prompts for the students to make deeper connections with the materials they read.

I decided to model this by doing a response on the New York Knicks basketball player, Jeremy Lin.  I used the Toronto daily, 24 to get this article. The articles are usually not that long for the students to read and the reading level is not too high.  The next time we do a response, I am going to allow the students to make a choice on the material they want to read.
Linsanity article
Mr. P's response

The phonemic awareness work continued today but this time we took a closer look at the 44 sounds in the English language.  Here is a link to the pdf document put out by The National Right to Read Foundation in the United States:

Different students took turns reading from the list and I used the SMARTBoard to add some additional words to some of the sounds we came across.  In the photos below, there is no writing on it but just the 44 sounds.
A couple of students took turns looking more specifically at some of the sounds we came across in activity that we started on Tuesday.
Jennifer's work on SMARTBoard
Johnson matching the correct sounds to the words
Jennifer working on SMARTBoard


Reading Response:  The students may select a reading material (magazine, newspaper, or book) of their choice.
Pre-Quiz on subtraction work involving borrowing.  The students are going to have to create 8 questions [ 3 with 3 digit, 2 with 2 digits, and 2 word problems].  They will write the questions on a piece of fullscap paper and the answers on the post-it notes.  I will check this on Monday, to see if they are right, and then they will exchange the questions with their peers to solve.  
sample questions
paper for questions and Post-It notes for putting the answers on