Thursday, 26 March 2015

2D and 3D Geometry in Math

The last two weeks before Spring Break has been an opportunity to focus on Geometry in Math class.  Specifically, students have been learning the names and the characteristics of 2D shapes and 3D solids.  
Mathletics has been a great place to start the learning process.  Although it can frustrate some kids to get the answer wrong, they learn to look at what the right answer was and learn from their mistake.  That is an advantage that worksheets can never give - instant feedback.

We tried drawing the solids but found it difficult to represent an object with three dimensions (3D) on a piece of paper or the Smartboard.  It would be much easier to build models using marshmallows and toothpicks.

We have used the real 3D objects to talk about faces, edges and vertices.   It helps by using our models to see the vertices ( also called corners) when there is a marshmallow at each one!  The edges are created with toothpicks.  The face is when you can sit it down flat.
We were able to make cubes,

triangular prisms,
rectangular prisms,

square based pyramids and
triangular based pyramids.

 We were not able to use these materials to make cones, cylinders or spheres.  Can you guess why?

As you may have guessed, the best part was being able to eat some of the materials when we were finished!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

A Cursive Celebration

Today the Grade 2 and 3 students celebrated the last period of cursive writing instruction and practice.  Now we will be using it in daily work when we can all day long!  Here is a link to an earlier blog post about cursive.  When we finished learning  the lower case letters, we practiced writing them in shaving cream on the tables!  Now we are finished all the capital letters and have studied how to combine them in words.  To celebrate this milestone, today we wrote letters in spray whipped cream on paper plates!  Doesn't that sound like fun!  If you make a mistake, just eat it!  Yum!

New Science Resources

We had a visitor to our class today.  His name is Dean Brooker and he works for the West Souris River Conservation District.  They gave our school $500 to buy learning kits for our Early Years classes.  We opened the kits and had a look at what was in them.  Then we wrote in our Learning Logs about what we found out.

Here are some of the neat things from the kits.  Most of them are replicas but some are real!

We also purchased some Science Bingo games with themes like Weather, Plants and Animals.  Magnifying glasses, a Simple Machines building kit and a digital scale were also part of the new items.  Thanks to the WSRCD for their support of Science learning at Reston School.  We appreciate it!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Contractions in Spelling

As I look through the students' journals, I look for spelling patterns to focus our daily Language Art lesson on.  I noticed that many students were misspelling contractions and decided that would be our next spelling topic.

We found many examples of contractions in the books we were reading and then tried to figure out what they meant.  We soon decided a contraction is made when 2 small words are combined and an apostrophe takes the place of some of the letters.  This is an important thing to remember when spelling.  The word can not be "would'nt" when the o is missing.  It must be "wouldn't".

Our Literacy Centers have included practice on contractions in the last week.  We play a game called Fiddle Sticks to work on the correct spelling of contractions.
  We also practice matching the contraction with the two words it is made from.  Here are some links to online games to practice at home.

Upcoming spelling topics include possessives (cat's) and homonyms (sale/sail). 

Goals in Grade Two and Three

It is important to set goals for ourselves and with Report Card time coming up, we need a chance to look back at the classroom goals that we set to see how we are doing with them.

Students in this class keep a Portfolio Binder with 3 or 4 samples of work collected each month.  Parents have a big role as well in looking at the work and commenting on what they see.  Our February portfolio choices included 3 goals for each child.  Parents were given an opportunity to comment on the goals and find ways to help at home.

Goals are important in all areas of our school life, even recess.  Our snow has been melting quickly and you know what that means - puddles!  We have the sign below posted on our door and our goal is 10 recesses in a row.  Wish us luck!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Science Fun with Mr. Kristof!

On Friday March 6 our class had some special Science demonstrations put on by our very own principal, Mr. Kristof.  Before he was our principal, he was a chemistry teacher so he knows a lot about chemicals and showed us some cool things.

We found out that everything is made up of atoms and he was able to change some of the atoms in the chemical he brought to make something else.  We learned that you can see a chemical change by its colour, by a sound, by fizzing (the creation of gas) and by the creation of heat.  You might want to check out these two websites for more information.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Where in the World?

Our current Social Studies topic is the study of different communities in the world.  Our first step was being able to name and place the 7 continents and the 5 major oceans on the world map and on a globe.  Other vocabulary terms like cartography and equator were introduced as well.

To create interest and curiosity, each child got their winter coat from their locker and found out where it was made.  Most students predicted it would say it was made it Canada but found out otherwise!  Then they were given homework to look around home and bring an article to show that was made outside of Canada.  We got a big variety of items but found that many of them were made in China or Indonesia.  These became places to find on the map and discover how long of a journey that item had to reach their home in Canada.
This brought up the discussion that the world is not flat like on their 2D map but to get from Asia to Canada over the Pacific Ocean is still a distance of 13,000 kilometers!

The next day, students were tasked with finding another object and trying to find one from a different place than we had found the day before.  Students will next choose a country to find out more about using a series of books called "Spotlight On" from our school library by Bobbie Kalman.

Developing research skills is an expected outcome in Grade 2 and 3 and practice using text features like the index, table of contents, picture captions and more are needed.  If your child brings home a non-fiction book from the library, be sure to point these parts of the book out as you read it with your child.  These are not necessarily books to read from start to finish but I encourage the students to have a question in mind and then work to try to find out the answer using the book.

Here is a link to an online site to play quiz games about places in the world.  Try it with your child!