As a class we together read a book called ‘Pink and Say’ by Patricia Polacco.
After we read it we thought of some text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. Over the weekend I, Yieun, heard a song called Wavin’ Flag by K’naan. I thought the music sounded a lot like the book, for instance I thought when it says “give me freedom,” it sounded like give me freedom from slavery. I also thought the instruments matched the theme of the book. Also the part where it sings “just like a wavin’ flag,” and on International Day we learned about the American flag when it was on war and thought all three were connected.
In class we all listened to the song and shared connections we made. Listen to the song and see if you realize the same too.
We were invited to attend the PTA Cultural Show before the April break, and it was a great opportunity to begin tuning into our new Unit Work. (Not to mention a great showcase of PTA talent!) We made a mind map together of all the things we noticed and were wondering about from the show.
Today each student took a smaller version of the mind map and began deciding on ways these words could be categorized. It was up to each child how many categories to create, whether words could belong to more than one category, and if colour-coding, circling, underlining, or listing words would be the best way to organize his or her thinking.
The students really showed flexibility in their thinking and made a lot of connections between concepts and big ideas. Each student also took ownership over the classification as they were responsible for being creative and coming up with their own personal categories. They’ve truly opened their minds to so many different paths that our inquiry into Communication Systems might take!
On Friday morning the students had an opportunity to tune into our new Unit, Communication Systems, by visiting all grade three classrooms. Here’s what they experienced:
In Ms. Wislang’s room we watched two silent movies (the characters didn’t talk but there was music and some grunts/sighs/groans, etc.). We wrote down what we noticed or wondered while we watched.
In our class, we read books and jotted down our thoughts about it. We shared our thinking in a Mix-Freeze. Then we talked about how all of the books are similar.
In Ms. Z’s room, we were visualizing a story while we listened to music. We wrote or drew the stories in our Learning Journals.
We learned about sign language in Mr. Miller’s room. We learned how to sign our names with our hands. We also learned the alphabet using sign language.
In Ms. Costa’s room we looked at hieroglyphics, which is an ancient form of writing from Egypt. Each letter in our alphabet is represented by a picture or figure (except the letter C – it was either S or K!). We wrote our names in hieroglyphics and it was complicated because it’s hard to memorize the alphabet.
In Mr. Winton’s room we looked at colours and what they mean. We used our favourite colour and checked out what it means in different areas of the world. Mr. Winton gave us the meaning of different colours.
In Ms. Yamanaka’s class we learned about what different signs mean. We went around and saw a lot of signs, writing down what we thought each sign meant. It was sort of like a Chalk Talk.
After our hands-on intro to perimeter learning, the kids had a chance to do some authentic measuring of perimeter using their own creations, their energy efficient home models.
They shared some of the ways they found the perimeter of their homes, which are traditional squares and rectangles:
“Measure one side and double it. Or you could multiply it by two. Then do the same thing for the other side and add them together.”
“Add all the sides together.”
“If it’s a square you just multiply the first side you measured by four.”
Next task: Mr. Phillips and I want to get a puppy for Mara and we have to fence in a play area for it in the backyard. We have 24 units of fence (we agreed on using cm to create a scaled down model) and had to use it all.
They went ahead and all of them created a square or a rectangle:
So to challenge them and get them thinking outside the box (literally!), we told them that we have to leave room for the tree and the pool in the yard and drew a picture of the yard. So we actually didn’t have enough space to make a large square or rectangle – they had to get creative! This was great and each kid had a different way of showing their understanding:
As an extra challenge, one group decided to try to use the pattern blocks to create an interesting but still more traditional space for the puppy to play.
With the right line of questioning, success!
The next day we launched into finding the area of the puppy’s play space, which was a perfect connection and easier for the kids to conceptualize. They even came up with a strategy to accurately find the area of the irregular shapes they made by partitioning them and finding the area of each smaller space, then adding those together. Pretty great!
To help students tune into measurement, Ms. Engstrom and I challenged the kids in math class to do this:
Find an object in the classroom and figure out the distance around the outside of it.
Document the strategies you used.
That’s it. Here’s what happened:
students chose how to organize their information
accurate use of measurement tools
noticing how understanding fractions on a number line helps when measuring (!!!)
using prior knowledge
attending to precision
From here, we did a bunch of talking and sharing. Next, we’ll be able to define perimeter, model and teach formulaic equations, and practice precise measurement techniques. It was a great way to get the kids focused on math in a hands-on way and engaging in math conversations with little intervention. For us as teachers, it was a great little check-in to see what the kids know and how much, and where we’ll need to step in to improve conceptual understanding.
Last week Student Council was tackling the problem of inappropriate words written on the PE white boards on the field and heard around ES. We came up with a list of solutions to help students deal with these types of situations.
- move the white boards into the Preschool area during recess
- remove the markers
- cover the boards
- put up a CCTV or even a fake camera!
- have a discussion with your parents about language that is allowed at home vs. at school
- ignore the person
- walk away
- give reminders to the person to use appropriate language
- focus on positive language (“Please use appropriate language” vs. “You’re not allowed to say that.” “Please don’t say that word” is also nice.)
- ask the person to stop
- involve an adult
- try not to make a big deal out of it; instead give a gentle reminder then move on
- explain that the language used makes you feel uncomfortable
- ask teachers to be listening in and monitoring language
- make a poster to display reminding people to use appropriate language
Can you think of anything else to add to our list?
Starting next Monday we are lucky enough to have another teacher join our class for six weeks! We’re excited to be learning with another teacher so we’ve been preparing for her arrival all morning. Hopefully she will have all she needs to feel comfortable and ready to teach and learn with the Legendary Legends!
Each student signed up for a creation task.
And then they…
created a large map of the most important places she’ll need to find while she’s here
set up a tour to take her around
made a brochure of all the places she should go while she’s in the Philippines
decided on some getting-to-know-you activities for Monday morning
tidied up a large desk area in the room for her, complete with a desk plate and pencil holder!
collected email addresses/phone numbers of teachers so she can get in touch with people while she’s here
wrote a welcome note
made a large poster
wrote a list to fill her in on the learning we’re knee deep in right now
created a special calendar and daily schedule so she can stay organized
collaborated to complete it all.
This morning we started talking about creating our energy houses, which will show the learning about energy sources that has been happening this semester. We watched this video to get us thinking about how different sources can be harnessed and then transformed for use.
After some discussion, we began planning our houses by creating blueprints!
We’re looking forward to getting creative and constructing energy efficient houses!
Today we saw a video about a person helping people in Manila who don’t have electricity. He made light bulbs for poor people using a plastic bottle, water, bleach, and some metal.
We like the way he is helping others, caring more for the people than for making money from the project.
The video was made in 2013 and it said goal was to have a million bottle bulbs throughout the world by 2015. Since it’s 2015 now, we want to find out if that goal has been achieved!
The Legendary Legends