A Peek at Last Week

26 October 2013
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!!!

Other Autumn-Themed Resources:


My Truth Monday

22 October 2013
Well, my first Monday Truth should be the fact that I'm having such a hard time getting back into a regular blogging routine.  But that wouldn't be news to any of you.  So, in a desperate attempt to get a little more regular with this routine, and share a little bit about ME (the person, not the teacher), I'm linking up with Denise for "My Truth Monday" at Sunny Days in Second Grade.

OK - here's my first Monday truth - fitness is the theme this week.

I even bought myself my first new pair of ballet shoes in 21 years (did I just give away my age???)  Even if the rest of my body doesn't look the part, my feet do now ... and that's a "step" in the right direction.  (too cheesy???)  ;)

Click the pic on the right to hop on over to Denise's blog and read a few more "true confessions" from behind the teacher desk.  

Happy Monday!


Friday Art Feature - Fall Trees

12 October 2013
I LOVE Fall ... every single thing about it.  I love the colours, the cooler temperatures, the smell in the air ... everything.  And it gets even better - this weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving - so it will be full of family and friends, and a yummy, yummy dinner.

I just had to bring a little Fall into the classroom.  In anticipation of my favourite season, I decorated my shelves a few weeks ago.  

If you follow my facebook page, you also know I've been working on some Fall craftivities for my students.  These activities are all literacy based - two of them can be used for book or novel studies (a great non-traditional book report), and the other is perfect for studying synonyms or word choice in writing.  Right now we are reading The Worst Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson and working on the Plot Pumpkins.  I can't wait until they are all on display in the classroom.  I put all three craftivities together in a bundle, but I have also listed them separately in my TPT store.  You can take a peek by clicking HERE or on the picture below. 

We also brought a little Fall into the classroom with the art project we completed on Thursday.  We started with a white sheet of cardstock.  We then used watercolours and foam brushes to paint the background - a wash going from blue to green down the page.

When the paint dried, we then used a watered-down black acrylic paint (about half water / half paint - the consistency of milk) for the trunks.  We used the straw blowing-technique to make the trunks. We poured a quarter-sized puddle of black paint near the bottom of the page, and blew into the straw to make the branches and a few roots.  The colour was a little lighter than I had hoped for, but once the leaves were added, it turned out perfectly fine. 
The last step was adding the leaves.  We used bristle brushes and acrylic paint in red, yellow, and orange.  Students simply dotted and "smooshed" the brush in different directions, layering the colours to create the leaves.  The overall effect was quite "leaf-like".  :)  LOVE them.  A few people have asked me why our art projects are always shiny when finished.  I like to laminate all our art before I display it (and I always use 8.5 x 11 size paper) because we make a book at the end of the year with all our art and writing from the year.  Here are some of our finished Fall trees.

I hope you have a terrific weekend!  And Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!!!

Other Fall-Themed Resources: