Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Vowel Sounds Spelling

We've taken a break from working on No Excuse Words in Spelling, but there is still "No Excuse" to spell those words that we studied incorrectly!

Our currently focus has been on special vowel pairs that have the same phonetic spelling in many words but often you need to choose between two possibilities.  The first group of words are spelled using OI or OY.  There were several YouTube videos to help think about the words but the one posted below was our favorite:

We also used a website during out Daily Five time at Work on Words called Sandcastle Spelling.   The British accent of the clam can be a little confusing sometimes but the kids enjoyed the challenge!

We will continue this practice until Christmas break, including ou/ow, oo/ew/ue and "Super E" will make a special appearance.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

All About Bats!

We were fortunate to have a visit from Jon from Oak Hammock March this week.  His topic on this visit was Creatures of the Night - Bats!
He told us about the many types of bats.  We had heard of vampire bats before and had some of the myths dispelled that we had heard about them.  We had never heard of the tiny Bumblebee Bat or the Flying Fox Bat.
Jon told us about the five types of bats that can be found in Manitoba.
He even showed us a skeleton of one.  The tiny bones amazed us!
This brown bat had been taxidermied and it gave us the opportunity to see one close up.  So many kids thought it looked like a mouse, with wings!
Jon also showed us a bat house and explained how the opening at the bottom helps them feel comfortable enough to roost there during the day so they are ready to go hunting at night.

He saved the best for last when he showed us how to play a game called Bat - Moth.  It is a lot like Marco Polo.  The bat was blindfolded and had to say "Bat".  The moth would reply "Moth" and would try to avoid being tagged.  It is like the adaptation that bats have called echolocation that helps them find their prey in the dark.

All in all, we learned to appreciate bats and especially when he showed us how many mosquitoes each bat east every day!  Thanks to the West Souris River Conservation District for once again sponsoring this educational experience for Reston School.

The Fiftieth Day of School!

Wow!  Can you believe that today (November 20) was the fiftieth day of school this year?  To celebrate the occasion, Room 21 participated in a number of activities all day around the theme of "50".
Using a stamp pad and stamps, students thought about all the ways to make 50 cents with coins.
Students created necklaces with 50 Froot Loops in a pattern.  Later, they got to learn about subtraction first hand - by eating  them!

On this sheet, students had to imagine their life when they are 50 years old - in the years 2056 or 2057! 

This writing activity had the kids think about what they would like 50 of and if that would cause any problems!

They also were challenged to make a list of 50 food, people they knew, 3 letter words, or animals.  This had them work on thinking in categories to help with their list.  For food, they could name breakfast foods, then fruits, then green food to help them come up with a complete list.  They found that 50 takes a lot of thinking!

Other paper activities had them working with a 50 chart to see patterns and number sequence.

And finally, our new Smartboard was one station where the kids could try out the new pens and new way to erase.  Ask your child about it!
I hope that the day halfway to Hundred Day was a day of fun and learning in the Grade Two-Three class!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The New Smartboard is Here!

I have been using a Smartboard with my students since September 2006.  Our first model was one on wheels that we rolled from room to room in the Elementary School and took turns using it.  It was exciting technology!
Within a few years, we had wall mounted versions in each classroom and they moved with us when we moved to the new Reston School in 2011.

Above is the last picture of the  Smartboard we have been using in Room 21 until now. It required a projector , pictured below that shone the image from the laptop onto the Smartboard.

As with any technology, upgrades are always being made and we decided it was time to start replacing the Smartboards.  Our room was chosen to be the first in the division to get a Smartboard 6065 interactive flat panel!

The maintenance department had to take down the bulletin board and move it over to make room as it is longer than the old one was.  They were finished installing it by lunchtime and now we need to wait for Nick, our tech, to hook it up.

The new Smartboard doesn't have a projector because it is more like a big screen TV with touch capability.  It has dual touch ability along with shadow-free and optimal viewing from any angle.  I am sure it will be a whole new learning curve but one we are excited to take on!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Design Process - Boat Building

As part of our first Science unit on States of Matter, we discussed the concepts of floating and sinking.  Each child was given the task to build a boat from a tub of supplied materials. The rubric below was introduced so students would know what they were expected to do and could check back with it as they were working.

Before they could dig in and start building, a yellow sheet like the examples below needed to be completed to show their plan.  Many of the students changed their original plan as they went, a move that is encouraged if the plan is not working like you thought it would.

After two days of building and testing, it was time to prove that their boats were built using at least four different  materials, were colourful and could hold 20 pennies without sinking.  

Everyone was successful and so to take it one step further, we used the weights from the Science lab to see how many grams each boat could hold.   Ask your child how much weight his/her boat could hold.  What an exciting way to end the unit!

Report Card Time

First term is now complete and students will take their report cards home on Monday, November 17.  This is our third year using the Manitoba Provincial Report Card and I hope parents feel informed about their child's progress after reading them.

My students also use Portfolio binders to show their work to their families every month.  We include pieces from daily work that show best work as well as some that show something we were learning.  Assessments like Spelling tests and Math Fact checkups are also included.  This past month, students were asked to set goals for themselves with their parents' help.  Specific goals like : to get faster with my doubles facts in Math, to read for 10 minutes every night and to write a full page in my T.W.A.S. journal every week were great ideas that some members of the class had.  We will revisit these goals periodically to see if they have met them and are needing a new challenge or if they need help to meet their goal.

The Grade Three students will also find their Manitoba Grade Three Assessment in Literacy and Numeracy in with their report.  More information about this Assessment can be found here.

I look forward to meeting with all parents on Wednesday, November 19 at the appointment times that you will find in the report envelopes.  Please be sure to read over the report and make a list of any questions or concerns that you or your child may have before our conference.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Snowmen at Night - Art Lesson on Perspective

When someone asks how lesson planning has changed over my year of teaching, the answer is easy - The Internet!  I have shelves full of lesson ideas, art projects, and class activities but they are really just collecting dust now.  When I need an idea, I just Google what I am looking for and many possibilities and on my computer in seconds.  Pinterest is one site I really like because it is visual, just pictures of the ideas and you can get more details if you want by clicking on the picture.

Last week, I was looking for an idea to work on Perspective in Art class.  With the excitement in the air about when we will have snow that stays, I looked for a lesson that combined the two ideas.  I love the book Snowmen at Night and the illustrations fit perfectly for this lesson.

We hope you enjoy a peek at our classroom and some closeups of some of the Art.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Power of Nine!

Following the success of our first two Math Strategies - Rainbow Numbers (that make 10) and Doubles/Near Doubles, our next focus will be on numbers added to nine and when 9 is taken away from a number.  This is a cute video that helps explain the strategy:

Here is another one by Classroom Professor that helps explain the strategy to parents.

For those who have these facts memorized, the next step will be mentally adding a 2 or 3 digit number with 9 like 45 + 9 and 9 + 123.

Don't forget to turn around the practice and subtract too.  15 - 9,  13 - 9 as well as 13 - 4 and 17 - 8.  We call it "The Power of Nine" and make a muscle to show the power that number has!