We finished our Chapter Book read aloud – The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles – and we loved every minute of it! The Prock, Gazooks, Sidewinders, Jiffies, Swamp Gaboons, the Oink, The Gyascutus and of course, the Whangdoodle himself; we met some creative characters.
We’re now onto a similar story, The Secrets of Droon; these characters too, travel to an imaginary world and go on some exciting adventures.
We continue to write letters, not only to our Pen Pals from Garden PS, but to our Roots of Empathy Baby too! Students were asked to imagine Baby Sasha as a 4 year old – what would you write to him on his first day of JK? We also wrote letters to the characters from Whangdoodle.
To celebrate World Water Day, we went to the WWD site and watched theirTrailer then with the sentence starter “Water is …” students chose ONE of the ideas Health, Nature, Food, Industry, Urbanization, Energy, Equality – to write and draw about.
We also watched an episode from The Water Brothers (Awesome site!! ALL their shows are online) called Bottlegate and learned about the pros and cons between Bottled Water vs Tap Water (*Note: we watched this on a pizza lunch day, and as our volunteer came in to offer those students who have asked for water to drink – from a big bottle – she was promptly told “No thanks, I don’t want to drink from that bottle – I’ll fill my cup from the tap!!”).
The books ‘All the Water in the World’ and ‘Down Comes the Rain’ are great illustrations of the water cycle; after reading these stories students wrote about how our water travels around and around and around. Ask them about our ‘Water Cycle Song’ (we’ve got actions for it too! Condensation – Precipitation – Collection – Evaporation). As an extension, we read The Drop in My Drink: The Story of Water on Our Planet and students chose ONE of the four stages to really focus on and describe during a Writer’s Workshop (using Donna Details, Willy Words and Ollie Organization – the trait mates!)
We continue to watch and discuss the Raindrop Series as well:
Raindrop the Builder: Raindrop, once he has filtered, arrives at an underground cave with a limestone landscape. There he sees how stalactites and stalagmites are formed. He goes into an underground river which comes out to the surface in a geyser.
Frosty the Snow Lord - Raindrop turns up in a snowy landscape. The action takes place around a glacier. We discover why rivers are so important for life. Then we see how the thaw happens and what mineralization consists of.
When Rivers Flow - The course of a river is followed. The problem of pollution is examined.
As we learn about Toronto’s water source (Lake Ontario), we read The Drinking Water Adventures of Danny Droplet and his encounters with the Filthy Five as he travels through the filtration system. Check out thisYouTube version of the story.
We integrated math and talked about how many young children and grown women in developing countries spend the majority of their day walking and carrying water; if one young girl carried X litres of water and another carried X, how many litres did they carry together? (This lesson was differentiated for the 1s and 2s; the 1s used single digits and the 2s used double digits).
Since November I’ve been working with other colleagues in the TDSB through a Numeracy Hub, and this month it was my turn to host a demonstration classroom. The students and I modelled for our two visitors, Anne and Lillian, what a 3 part math lesson looks like in action, complete with a ‘Bansho’ at the end! A three-part problem-solving lesson takes between 45 and 60 minutes.
1. Before – Getting started (5 to 10 minutes). Revisiting mathematical ideas and strategies from a previous lesson that relates to the learning goal of the lesson
2. During – Teaching/learning (15 to 20 minutes). Solving the lesson problem in pairs, small groups or individually
(a) Consolidation (20 to 25 minutes). Co-ordination of whole-class discussion and analysis of student solutions
(b) Highlights/summary (5 minutes). Recounting key mathematical ideas and strategies related to the learning goal of the lesson
(c) Practice (5 to 10 minutes). Solving a problem that is similar to the lesson problem in order to practise applying new ideas and strategies
(Capacity Building Series)
OUR focus was a Bansho during the Consolidation portion of the lesson:
To organize and record mathematical thinking derived from and collectively produced by students on a large-size chalkboard or dry erase board. Such board writing includes the use of mathematical expressions, figures and diagrams of students’ solutions and strategies to a lesson problem. Because this written record enables simultaneous comparison of multiple-solution methods, there is the potential for students to construct new mathematical ideas and deepen their mathematical understanding.
(Capacity Building Series)
So what does this look like in a grade 1/2 math class? After students worked on their open-ended addition problems (they chose their own two addends, like 10+13 or 8+5) we compared their ‘Addition Strategies’ (like Adding On, Make a Ten, Doubles, Near Doubles) and talked about EFFICIENCY – which strategy is quicker, easier to use?
For example, does it make sense to add 10+13 like this:
“I started at 10 and then added on by ones, 13 times – 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, … 23”
Or like this?
“I started at 10 and then added on a 10 and then a 3, because I know 10+3 is 13 – 10, 20, 21, 22, 23”
Or even like this?
“10 and 13 are near doubles, like 10+10, only there’s 3 more, so I know 10+10 is 20, then when I add on the other 3, I get 23”.
If you’re interested in learning more about 3 part lessons or would like to know more about what a ‘Bansho’ is, these are great articles:
We’ve also started a bit of ‘drill and practice’ during our Math program; we set the TeachIt Timer
For 8 – 12 minutes and practice our mental math facts; mental math means you don’t have to think and problem solve, you know the answer because it’s right there in your schema.
We started with doubles, then moved on to doubles + 1, soon, we’ll do doubles + 2 – near doubles. If you’d like to practice at home, use the same program we do at mathaids.com: Single Digit Doubles (also +1 and +2)
Our new focus in math is 3D solids:
Easy 2D and 3D practice – recognizing shapes and solids
Shapes Shoot – choose the 3D solids to hear word then identify shape
WE ARE PLAYING THIS NEXT WEEK:
Computer Game – on a mission – must identify 3D solids’ faces, vertices, edges. GREAT practice for grade 2s.
On World Autism Day (April 2nd) we lit up the room with some blue lights and talked about what it means to be different – this video helped us understand that it’s OK to be different too
Day of Pink on April 8th was a great success! We watched the Story of Pink Day and talked about what it means to be gay. We also read 'My Princess Boy'
The big message of the day was 'It's OK to be different - be who you are and we will support you!".
What an awesome afternoon we had at the KEW beaches! It was fun to see some creative structures, all about ‘warmth’. Thanks volunteers for helping us get out and about to enjoy our local community, especially during the chilly winter season (except, we lucked out and got some really sunny weather).
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.