Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Peek at Last Week

Is anyone else as exhausted as I am?  I usually have my energy back by the beginning of October, but it hasn't happened yet.  I wanted to do this post yesterday and link up to 5 for Friday, but I fell asleep by 8:30, and didn't get up until this morning (quite early I must add - the girls have dancing and soccer at 9:00 am both Saturdays and Sundays ... perhaps another reason why I'm still exhausted).

Anyhow ... enough whining.  I had another great week in the classroom (LOVING my class this year), and just wanted to share a few of our activities.

In science we're finishing up our inquiry projects.  Students chose 3 questions that they still had about space and the solar system at the end of our unit (I did have a list of questions for those that were stuck, but many came up with their own questions).  They have finished up their research, and are working on their presentations for the material.  They could choose to present the information in any way they wished.  Watching them work right now is awesome!  I have some students making slideshows in photostory (complete with an audio file of their research), some are making powerpoint presentations, some are making 3D models with plasticine, a few are doing dioramas, others are doing poster board presentations ... it's definitely exciting!  Students will be presenting their projects on Wednesday, so I'll share some photos with you next week.  

In Language this week we've been studying poetry.  We're into summarizing as our reading comprehension strategy right now, so we've been summarizing the poems we've looked at, and I threw in a little study of figurative language, poetry elements and structure, and word choice.  Our big poem this week was The Raven - definitely challenging for my sixth graders, but not too difficult.  We looked at one page per day (4 pages in our copy), and each day, each group took on one stanza to summarize into their own words (the orange sticky notes on the papers).  Yesterday, students took their reader response answers (they had a page of questions they completed while studying the poem) and we used Tagxedo (like Wordle, only a little cooler) to make these awesome raven {yes, I know they look like chickadees ;) } word pictures.


We also wrote our own Halloween poems this week to add to our writing portfolio bulletin board.  I LOVE how they turned out.  I shared the stationery we used on my facebook page this week.  You can grab it from google docs by clicking HERE

To go along with our Word Choice in poetry, we also finished up our Tombstone Synonyms this week.  We completed our Plot Pumpkins last week.  I think they look great decorating our classroom library.  You can check out both these craftivities (and one more) HERE.


We're studying patterning right now in math (actually, just finishing up).  We've been working on completing our Concept Posters (I use them as a second summative assessment right before our final test so I can see what areas need a little more review right before the test).  If you can see on the picture, I left up one example of place value (our last unit) and added some examples from this unit.  When we finish this unit, I'll just leave up the one example of "pattern rules" and add some more from our current unit.  This way, we'll build a concept wall bulletin board over the year.  We've also been doing some three part math lessons with problem solving.  The students are getting pretty good at explaining their thinking, and posting some exemplars has really helped them organize their work on the page.

But, the most exciting thing to happen in math this week was our start of Number Talks.  This book came highly recommended to me (I put the amazon link at the bottom of the post) and will be perfect for our school focus on "operational fluency" this year.  It focuses on mental math strategies through number talks with the students.  I made this quick template for the smartboard this week, and we will use it for our talks.  I'll post a little more about it in a bit ... we're just getting started so I want to have a few more talks under my belt before I share more.  But ... the kids and I are really excited about it, and I can't wait to see them take ownership over it.

Ok - that's about it for now.  Sorry for the rambling post ... I was just excited to share.  ;)    Happy Saturday!!!




8 comments:

  1. I am always inspired by what you are doing, especially since you are also from Ontario! I used your plot pumpkins this week. We are focusing on paragraph writing and the editing process. We wrote rough drafts in blue ink, revised in green and edited in red. Then we published onto the pumpkins. On Monday I am putting it all together in a our writing is growing themed bulletin board. We did the tombstones the week before and my class LOVED the activity. Thanks so much from all of us in 6K!

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    1. Thank-you SO much! I bet your classroom is looking GREAT! We love using different colours for our revising and editing, too - it helps so much in showing students the difference between revising and editing.

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    2. The funniest thing about our writing was they FREAKED out when I had them write the first draft in blue ink: "But we can't erase our mistakes!" Once they were finished they saw the value in the exercise, but wow, they like their erasers.

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  2. I am very curious to hear more about your number talks. My kids are very weak in their math facts and I am working so hard to increase their fact fluency. I've put the Number Talks book on my wish list at Amazon ;-)

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    1. Our district has been doing trainings and workshops with number talks. I was blessed to observe one a few weeks ago and I LOVED IT! The students were NOT afraid to share their answers and their thinking. It was amazing to me ... especially some of the explanations. To "hear" their thinking was so insightful in many ways. In addition, seeing the variety of correct ways they got to the answer and the looks on their faces when they have a "lightbulb" moment about the way their peers came to an answer ... This is one of the big reasons I LOVE TEACHING!

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  3. We were just talking about how we are exhausted at our school too. Nice to know we're not alone!

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  4. This is my first time visiting your blog, and I have to say that I LOVE your classroom! I might have to check out that book. I have a couple of students that need to practice mental math, and I would love more strategies for that. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Would you be willing to put your Number Talks smart notebook file on TPT for purchase? I have the book and would love to do it on a daily basis! Thanks so much:)

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