Friday, 28 March 2014

Smartboard Calendar

Here is our March Smartboard calendar.  We do this activity first thing every morning and the helper of the day leads it.   See if you can answer the question under each picture!

Notice the colour pattern of the squares.  What colour will the 29th of March be?  We have been working lots on patterning this month.  We can figure out what something will be in a pattern just by thinking about numbers. 

How many days have we been at school in March?  How many left until 24 days?

This was our 125th day of school so there is $1.25 in the piggy bank.  Can you make this amount with the fewest possible coins?

Were you right?

 This shows the number of days of school all year using Deines Blocks that show hundreds, tens, and ones.  How many days has it been since day 95? 

Next we create a line graph with the temperature outside each morning.  Do you see the coldest day in March on our graph?  How about the warmest day?

Here is the Environment Canada website for the temperature we have been using.  What is the temperature?

Now we have a weather station right on the roof of our school and here is that page.  How much different is this temperature from the one in Melita from Environment Canada?  Thank you to West Souris River Conservation District for the weather station and our tech department for getting us linked to it online.  There is a link to it from our school webpage.

This month, the helper has been deciding if the weather makes it a lion or lamb day.  Which has there been more of and how many more?

Here is the last slide of our calendar.  We list the students' names who are absent and write all 4 number facts for those numbers.  What facts would we write if five people are away?

Thank you for reading our blog!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Haiku Deck

We have begun using an app on our IPads called Haiku Deck.  It is a little like Max Show that we have been using for a while in our class.  Some people also use Power Point to show information in slides after they have done some research.  Here is a Haiku Deck that someone made and shared about how to be a good kid!

We like Haiku Deck because it is quick and easy to make slides. Here is a Snapguide for how to use it.

When you enter the text, the program automatically searches Creative Commons for free images that go with your word.  You can't add music or voice and are limited to 2 lines of text so the words you choose have to explain your topic very well.

Haiku Deck is also available online here.  The thing we like about the IPad version is that the projects are saved automatically.  No more forgetting to save your work!

Green Foods

 St. Patrick's Day was on Monday and besides wearing something green, the Grade 2 and 3 class were challenged to bring something green for Nutrition Break that day.  The picture above shows the variety of things that were brought.  Many were from the Fruits and Vegetables Group and one was from the Milk Group - green coloured yogurt!  We were glad that no one had green Cereals or Meats Group food because they may have been rotten!

Ms. Simms had purchased a few other green fruits and vegetables for us to try.  If you have ever seen the show, America's Funniest Videos, you know that the audience votes for their favorite videos using something that looks like a remote control.  We have something like that in our school that are called the Senteo Response System. 

This is a Senteo clicker and it allows each person to enter an individual answer and the results show up as a graph on the Smartboard.  Ms. Simms can use it like a test and she is able to know what answer each of us chose to a question.  

This time there was no right answer but the slides asked if we had ever tried each of the 7 items our teacher bought.  We found out that everyone had tried kiwi and no one had tried kale before.

Then we had a chance to try the foods.  Everyone was a good sport and at least took a taste of the cabbage, asparagus, snap peas, spinach, brussel sprouts, kiwi and kale. 

The pie chart above shows that more people did not like kale than did. The purple part of the pie chart stands for the "no" answers and the yellow part is "yes".

This one shows that 72% of the class liked asparagus and 28% did not.  The rest of the graphs are posted outside our classroom door.  Please come and have a look at them.  It was a fun and interesting was to practice reading and interpreting graphs and the best part was all the healthy food we ate!  Maybe some kids will be asking for kale for supper tonight.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Those Green Things!

With St. Patrick's Day coming up, our teacher was looking for an idea for an Art Project.  She had some left over shaving cream so she searched one of her favourite idea spots - Pinterest!  Here is what we did. 

Ms Simms read the book Those Green Things by Kathy Stinson to us.
Then we mixed equal parts of glue and shaving cream.  The directions for the project warned us not to mix too much or the puffiness would go out of the shaving cream and it would just be glue!
Green food colouring was added to the mixture.  Each student was able to select between green, yellow and blue colouring and made their own unique shade of green.
Then came the creative part.  Students had to think of something green and then make the shape of it on their paper.  Shamrocks were a popular choice!
Some kids used their fingers, some used paintbrushes, and others used the stir sticks. Most kids used a combination to make their shapes.
The final step in out project was using a black sharpie marker to trace around the shapes to add some definition to them.
The Art is hanging outside our classroom now and it is getting quite a following.  Everyone, including us,  loves to touch the texture of the paint.  Stop by and see it for yourself!

Daily Edits in Grade Two and Three

This week we started a new routine in our Literacy Time.  We call it the Daily Edit.  I write a message on flipchart paper full of as many errors as I can.
Students use small notebooks to copy the sentences and correct the errors.  Then we go through it as a group and discuss how they knew it was wrong and what would be right instead.
This example needed capitals on names and spelling errors corrected.  There was a run-on sentence as well and two options were given.  Students might have chosen to use a period and start a new sentence but the idea of connector words for short sentences was discussed as well.

Today the Daily Edit was projected onto the Smartboard instead.  Besides saving paper, doing it this way makes it bigger font and easier to read.  The next activity was writing in the T.W.A.S. (This Week At School) journals so this helped gather ideas for writing.  I was able to break my "all time high score" and made 20 errors this time.  Can you find them all?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Math Class in Grade 2 and 3

Grade 2 and 3 Math Class is always first thing every morning.  We start each day with a Smartboard calendar that lets us work with numbers in many ways. The last calendar activity uses a random number generator to make up a question for us to solve.

The whiteboard in the photo above shows the addition question 69 + 47 in red marker. We worked on a few ways you might think about how to add those numbers or check if you are correct. Ms. Simms always goes back to the way she learned Math from Miss Henry in 1972 to stack the numbers but we have taught her some other ways that we think about it.
Then we had to work on 73 - 16. You can see our ideas for that in blue marker. Luckily, we always got 57 no matter how we looked at it!

Then we move into 3 groups for the rest of Math class.  One group works on Math games to practice their Math facts or other important skills.  Equazzle, on the right above, is a board game that challenges us to come closest to a certain number by adding and subtracting.

Another group does paper and pencil Math.  This person is working on problem solving.  Sometimes Ms. Simms works with this group on a new idea or practicing something we did earlier during Calendar Time.

The third group has some time at Technology.  One of our favorites to do is Live Mathletics or games on Shepherd Software.  The I Pads are also used sometimes by this group.

The hour of Math flies past and it is time for Nutrition Break and then recess!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Cursive Writing

Right after Christmas Break we began the "Cursive Club" in Grade 2 and 3.   The 4 Grade Twos from Ms. Wright's classroom joined our class every day in January and February for 30 minute lessons and practice on formation of the cursive letters. 
The first step was the lower case letters,  then the capitals and last was connecting the letters together.  Now that we have finished that, the students use their cursive skills as much as they can in our everyday work. It is a balancing act however!
The pictures above are writing in T.W.A.S. (This Week At School) Journals that they write in every Friday.  Students choose a couple of highlights of their week to describe in detail and take it home to share with their families.  Using cursive means our entries may be much shorter than they were previously in printing.  As adults, we forget how much effort composing, spelling, and mechanics of writing can be for children and adding a whole new way to write and connect the letters is more difficult still.  It will take practice to get the entries as long as they were given the same time to work in.  Some of the details will have to come from conversations rather than being able to read them in their T.W.A.S.!
We know that students will choose their own style of penmanship and that may not be cursive for a majority of them. I believe that being able to read cursive script is an important literacy skill and that is why it is worth the time it takes in Grade 2 and 3.  It is faster than printing with practice and it does help the kids who have trouble keeping b and d straight because they are not reversals of each other in cursive.
  There is much debate in the educational community and in general about the teaching of cursive.  Here is a post from The Current on CBC Radio.  CTV News had a story on cursive last year as well.

 Here is a very thorough document from Prince Edward Island Education all about the teaching of printing and cursive.  

I think giving lots of room to write and not expecting many words on a line is key at the beginning.  Letting them trace over their pencil work with a Sharpie marker makes it stand out and look more impressive too.  Encouraging them to write their own words as well as copying models are both valuable.  We have apps on our IPads that make practicing handwriting fun.


The all time favourite way for my class to practice cursive is in shaving cream on the tables!  Who wouldn't love to do that?  We'd love to hear your comments about cursive.