Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Doubles, Doubles!

Doubles, Doubles, I can add doubles!
It's no trouble for me to add doubles!

Have you heard your child singing this song by chance?  (Mrs. Perreault said it was stuck in her head all day after hearing it in Math class this morning!)  Below are the links to the videos on YouTube:

The Math facts that we call The Doubles are the next set we focus on after mastering the Rainbow Numbers.  Knowing the answer in 1 or 2 seconds will help speed up computations but will also help with learning the "Near Doubles" facts like 7 + 6 and 8 + 9.  When practicing with your child, don't forget to turn them around to connect with the subtraction facts like 16 - 8 and 12 - 6. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Zuma Rockers and More

We have two special student chairs that you may have heard about if you have a child in my class.  They are called Zuma Rockers.  Many classrooms use them to help kids improve their work habits in the classroom. Our school division’s occupational therapist, Rob Thiessen says that the chairs:

“provide the exercise that the body needs throughout the day and promotes increased muscle tone, The linear movement also helps to calm the nervous system just like spinning excites it. The smooth rhythmic movements work to promote a predictable and calming sensation. “

I am on the way to giving each student two days to try them at their spot at the table and then I'll ask what they think of them. More information can be found at the following website: http://zumarocker.com/

We also are currently trying out a Desk Cycle.  There is lots of information online about their benefits in the classroom.  Here is an article describing improved learning using it.

Ms. Hurton has also found a source to let us try out a Hokki Stool. If you follow the eBrandon forums, there was a recent discussion on there about Hokki Stools.   Link here to read it.  It will be interesting to try it out in our classroom!

Limitations of Blogger

I have enjoyed sharing our classroom with the readers but I am also aware that some of the content, like videos, can sometimes not be viewable by some mobile devices like iPhones or tablets. There may be web browsers other than Safari that will play video, but I'm not entirely sure about that.  Sometimes there is also an issue with bandwidth or signal strength that don't allow large blog posts to come to your screen.
We love to have comments on our blog but again, I have heard that mobile devices look like the comment posts but it never shows up on the blog.  I am sent an email notification when a comment is made but it seems to need to be from a desktop or laptop computer.  If this is a problem for you, you are more than welcome to use our classroom computers before or after school or at a recess any time!  Your child can set you up with their headphones and show you the blog to see the parts you are missing.
No technology will ever be the perfect solution but I like the way this blog keeps families aware of what we are doing to reinforce that learning at home.

Daily Five in Grade 2 and 3

Parents: Have heard about the “Daily Five”? We have been working with all parts of the Daily Five for a week or so now. They are Read to Self , Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing and Word Work . The Daily Five is a popular Early Years Literacy Block method that allows the teacher to work with individuals or small groups while the rest of the class works independently on activities that will improve their skills as well. You can read more from the teachers who started Daily Five here.

 Currently we use Raz Kids on the IPads and computers for Listen to Reading but we will also be using TAG pens, MP3 players, and Kindles at this station later in the year. Word Work is a place to the spelling words, right now  all the words start with 'qu". The Work on Writing Station is a journal where they can write about things they do or make up stories.  The Read to Someone station had an exciting addition yesterday, reading text messages on Cell Phone Sliders!

Students choose which station to visit first but we make sure they have been to all five before doing one twice. The board pictured above in our classroom helps keep track, especially when we don't get all five finished in one day and need to carry some over to the next day.

Ask your child about their favourite Daily Five!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Rainbow Numbers

I just finished reading the parent replies to this week's TWAS (This Week At School) Journal entry and realized I should be explaining the term "Rainbow Numbers".

We are starting the year in Math being sure each and every student can quickly and easily say the number combinations that make 10-(7+3, 1+9, 4+6, etc).

The following video explains the thinking of these important numbers and shows where the name comes from.
Once they have mastered these facts, they can use them to help build numbers to any ten or even to 100 or 1000. 

This is a fun video that kids love singing along with. Be warned - it does say it might annoy parents!

Go Noodle!

Our class is currently enjoying a new website called Go Noodle.  This is a free site that gives Brain Break activities between 1 and 5 minutes long that quickly get the class re energized between activities.  We have a mascot, a "classroom champ" who grows a little bit with every 10 break breaks that our class completes. 

Children need to move to learn and I have found just a couple of minutes of movement goes a long way with increased concentration and time on task, especially in the afternoon.   

Some of our favourites so far are yoga- like activities with a character called Massimo and Run Like a Kitty!

The video below is from Ed-Tech Tuesdays for teachers to learn more about Go Noodle and set up their own account.

Dot Day and Augmented Reality!

On September 15, we took part in an international celebration of Dot Day!  We started on last Friday with colouring the dots in our own creative way with markers and Ms. Simms gave us a few hints about something that was going to amaze us on Monday.  We tried to guess what it might be:
  • the room might be all covered with dots
  • with Ipads maybe we can take a picture of the dots
  • maybe we will watch a movie about dots
  • maybe it will be stop motion animation with dots
  • maybe ????

Then she read us the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds.  You can see it on the YouTube Video below.

What came next was truly amazing!  We used our IPads and an app called Colar to make the dots we drew come alive!  It is a form of Augmented Reality and the video below shows what it looked like.

Monday, 8 September 2014


This year, we are starting off  with a theme about quilts.  A theme gives the class to learn in depth about a topic and connect our learning together.  We will read books about quilts, make them with geometric shapes in Math class, create paper quilts in art class and more.  We have read The Keeping Quilt, The Bear Paw Quilt, and The Quilt Story so far. 
Spelling with the theme started with thinking of words that start with qu and writing each on an index card.  The discussion turned to words with "qu" in them like equator and earthquake.  (Also how the word "choir" sounds like the others but is not spelled that way.)  The words were then put in a pocket chart and the next activities will include sorting them to the vowel sounds and looking for ending that make new words.  We will expand our vocabularies by talking about what the words mean and illustrating them.  I encourage the students to talk to their families about qu words and keep adding to our collection.
Quilts will also fit into our first Math study of Patterns.  We will make repeating patterns in a row but also make increasing and decreasing patterns and use symmetry to make 2 sides the same.  Keep watching this blog for more about our Quilt Theme!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Ready to Learn!

I am so excited to start school tomorrow!  Our classroom is ready to learn!  Hope everyone gets a good sleep tonight and is eager to get the school year underway.  Ms. Simms