Saturday, October 25, 2014

Individual Education Plans (IEPs), Reading Response, Media Literacy, Ballet Creole, Painting, Rewrites and Homework

It is hard for me to imagine that I did not post at all this week.  There are not many occasions where there is such a gap in my postings.  It is a very busy time of year.  This week rocketed by and it is not showing any signs of easing up until after Parent/Guardian Conferences.

The IEPs went home today.  A number of students raced out of the classroom not picking them up, even though I announced they were going home.  As I explained in the attached letter (inside the envelope), the IEP is a working document that will change over the year based on how things are going in class.  Please return the last page of the IEP with your signature.  Keep the IEP and bring it with you, if you would like, during the conferences in the coming month.

I must say that I find the IEP very cumbersome and impersonal.  For me, they almost seem to become the learner, but they are just words and symbols on a page and in a data base.  It is a guide for structuring learning, but there is something about the rigidity of it that seems constricting.  So, by thinking of it as a working document that has some flexibility and conversation starting possibilities, I am able to make peace with having to complete it.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to explain to the students what a Reading Response was.  As part of the Reading strand in Language, it is a form of a Reading Strategy to assist students in understanding what they read.  I took an article we all read -- on the idea of eliminating Homework -- I modeled a response.   I did this for them, while they watched.  Here it is:

I changed the format of the response because I found it had too many prompts on the left column.  I had intended to hand out the new version to the students but forgot to.

The article the students had to the response to related to an article on Ebola from the publication What in the World.  Here is a photo of the front page of the article.  For copyright reasons, I am not going to post the entire article but a photo of the first page:

Even before we started reading the article we looked at the images and headlines to begin the reading process; they provide clues as to what may be going on.  Also, having a discussion, albeit small, about what the article might be about or what  they know about Ebola helps with developing an understanding.

In the middle section of the Reading Response form is a section on relating to the article.  I showed the students a video about a doctor from New York who recently returned from Sierra Leone who had contracted Ebola and was now under quarantine.  Learning about this allows them to make some further connections with what they are reading.

Here is the CBC link for a lot of information on Ebola.  It may provide some news stories for the students to read and make deeper connections to the article:

Speaking of the Media, the students have completed working on their media boxes.  They will be used for looking at the Media Literacy strand and applying it to the Ideal Society project most of the students have started planning.

For the six sides of the cubes, they each explore one of the central parts of studying Media Literacy.

Here they are: 
For this project, we will only be looking at 2 of them:  #1 and #5.  As part of homework for this weekend, I have asked the students to bring in an example of an advertisement to share with the class.  By looking at some examples of ads, the students will begin to get a feel of how aspects of the Media work.

Last week I had my commentary on the importance of Multiplication.  This past week we learned the first of 5 steps of the JUMP Math approach to learning multiplication.  I applied some of those skills to a Math test involving fractions where knowledge of the tables was important.  I have to mark that this weekend and will return it on Monday.

I was pleased to see a few people take advantage of doing Rewrites to help improve the scores on the last Math test.  Here is a list of the final list of students who improved their marks by some hard work, desire, and effort:

The importance of learning the tables will become more evident with the work we begin this week that will involve understanding the relationship between Multiplication and Division.

In the realm of the Arts, we had a visit from Ballet Creole.  I am shortlisting a few photos that I will send to the company, and later upload to the blof, but I just took this panoramic image with my phone:

I got around to mounting the paintings we did for the I am poem on some wood I found in my garage.  These two photos aren't the greatest, but you will get a sense of how they look as a class.

Each painting required a one line caption from the poem.
As I prepare to write the Progress Reports for the first 7 weeks of school, I will be going through my records to see what work has and has not been done by the learners in the class.  The students are provided countless reminders and time to complete work.  I have been very diligent with getting the agenda signed on most days, but some students will often say they have forgotten it at home.  The agenda will help them stay on top of the work they need to do.

- obtain an example of an advertisement
- complete the Reading Response on the Ebola Virus article
- complete the Math sheet, if it was not done on Wednesday
-spend some time outside  

Enjoy the sunny Saturday.

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