Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A 500 year ago Thanksgiving Celebration with our School Family!

On Thursday, we had our Aboriginal Thanksgiving Day Celebration!!
This year we spent the whole day celebrating life as an Aboriginal family. 

Since STORYTELLING was such a significant part of Aboriginal and First Nations life, we began our day with a Cree Story about the Granddaughter that was Eaten by a Big Fish!
Not only are these stories entertaining to listen to, they are also a great learning tool for First Nations people. The elders, traditionally, shared these stories to teach children important lessons.

Following the storytelling, we had the opportunity to experience some authentic Aboriginal music. We got up and began to move our bodies in the ways that felt natural to the beats of the sounds.

Take a look below:

All of the students were so engaged in the sound of the drums and the beat of all the fascinating instruments! Following recess, a few of the Grade 3 students had a discovery to share with the classes. They found objects from outside (during recess), and came together in a group of 5 people to create their own version of Aboriginal music.

They bravely came forward in the class and shared their creative rendition of Aboriginal music using the objects that they found outside in our school yard!

After all of the dancing and storytelling, we had our feast. We ate the traditional Three Sisters foods: beans, corn, and squash alongside our rabbit meat! It was a delicious feast and we were all so thankful for the chance to eat together with our class community.

Students experienced eating this scrumptious food using only a stick -- this was to experience how Aboriginal people ate their food with limited utensils and homemade forks!

What a perfect way to celebrate a community of faith and being thankful! It was a great day remembering our ancestors who respected our land and were the start of this amazing country.


Curriculum Night and Classroom Tour!

For those of you who missed our curriculum night, here is a peak at what was set up for the night...

Some of the Resources Used:

TEXTBOOK RESOURCES: Below are some of the resources (texts) that we use to support the Grade 3 curriculum. Alongside these resources, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra are always searching and discovering the most current information and interactive ways to engage with the curriculum. 

WEB RESOURCES: We also use Ontario Education Resource Bank Online, Learn 360, Smarttech Exchange, Nelson Mathematics Online, and other online resources that are constantly being updates with new information.

APPLICATION RESOURCES: Some of the apps that we use on the iPads are as follows: Pearson e-text, Gizmos, Explain Everything, Google Maps, Blogger, Prezi, Raz Kids, etc.

Our classrooms are set up with various comfortable spaces for students to explore their learning and work collaboratively. Students in our class often get to choose where they would like to learn. Some of these areas include:
- Carpet area (with pillows)
- Couch area (with pillows)
- Small group work tables
- Independent work tables
- Beside the class library nook
- On the yoga ball seats
- Outside on the benches in the hall

Thank you for all of the families that came out on curriculum night! It was a pleasure and we are happy to share this post for all of the families that weren't able to make it... !

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Collaborative Instruction Writing Activity!

After a few activities with instructions, students felt ready to begin writing their own instructions with a partner. Collaboratively, the students wrote instructions on how to draw a picture of their choice. After they completed their instructions, they went to another pair of students and had them follow their instructions.

If the students following the instructions were able to follow each step carefully and have a final picture similar to the original design, the instructions would prove to be well written. If there were areas that were unclear, students were able to give each other feedback as to different ways that they could improve their instructions.

After practicing with a partner, students have gained even more confidence about writing their own instructions. Next step....writing instructions independently!

Our grade 3s have gotten so good at writing detailed instructions!

Well done! :)

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Unclear, Undetailed and Confusing, Oh My!

Today, Ms. Marra and Ms. Meehan were deliberately confusing. Why you ask? To teach students about the importance of being clear and detailed while giving instructions. Each pair of students were given a piece of paper and were told that they had to follow instructions to create some origami. 

Students were given instructions such as:
"Hold your piece of paper the correct way"
"Fold the corner to the side"
"Fold the other side to the other side"

After we finished our folded paper art, students were asked:
- how they felt during the activity
- why the instructions were difficult to follow
- what could have been done to make the instructions more easy to follow
- why all of the paper creations were different from each other

Students realized that when it came time for them to write their own instructions, that they needed to be detailed and clear so that the person following their instructions did not feel as confused as they did while creating their origami!

Later in the day students practiced giving clear, detailed instructions to a partner about how to tie their shoes. 

Our First BYOT Day!

This morning the air room was buzzing with excitement, students brought in their own devices to research. Earlier in the week students practiced their reading skills by finding the most important information in the text related to the contributions of First Nations people in Ontario. 

Students were able to pick which item they were most interested in to do more research on. 

Students found a spot in the classroom that they felt comfortable and the research began!

There have been many moments where students giggled with glee as they learned something new while they explored their topics. 

Next, students will share their findings with other group members

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ed Camp Facilitators! June 2014

In June of 2014, we were invited to facilitate a session at the Ed Camp hosted by TCDSB. We were thrilled to have another opportunity to collaborate with other professionals on all of the topics that intrigue us most in education; collaboration, the third teacher (environment), inquiry-based learning, 21st century learning, technology, etc.

We designed our discussion space the same way that we like to organize our classrooms... A space that is welcoming/inviting and is able to accommodate all of the different learners in the class.

We tried to organize different spaces in the room that would allow for different groups to form and express ideas and opinions in ways that best suit that individual. In the above photos, you can see our getting started sign, our BYOD tweeting station, our artistic corner...

And a round discussion area with pillows and welcoming music in the background.

The teachers that visited our room were so excited about the space that that became the starting point for our discussion... the role that the environment has on making learners feel comfortable and encouraged to express themselves in various ways.

Take a look at our learning experience:

Everyone felt comfortable and the discussion became so RICH! What an amazing learning experience this day was. We all brought back ideas to share with our classroom students.

Exploring First Nations Contributions in Canada

Today students were invited to explore an interactive activity found on oerb.

This collaborative activity allowed students to discover the various things that First Nations people taught Pioneers in order to help them survive in the cold Canadian north. 

Students discussed their findings in their small groups and we will continue to explore tomorrow while learning how to summarize important information that we find. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Natural Patterning

We have started to learn about patterning.  We decided to grab our bins and head outside to collect some of nature's gifts to use to pattern.  Students explored the great outdoors and picked up many natural treasures. Using these natural objects helped us to understand the different shapes in nature, textures, colours, weight, etc.

We brought them inside and began to explore different ways to organize the materials.  Students were grouping according to type. colour, shape, texture, and even into groups of items found on trees and items found naturally on the ground.  Students were then asked to sort their materials in a different way.  Students began to discover repeating patterns. 

Take a look at our natural object patterns:

See if you can figure out the attributes that were changing.

After a gallery walk around the class, we continued to discover the many patterns that we can make using all of the attributes that we realized natural objects have.

What a great day of learning!