Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Numeration: Numerals, Number Words, Models and More!

We began a focus in math today.  We are learning about numeration and representing numbers in many different ways!  First Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra introduced some new terms to the students: numerals, number words, models, and expanded form.  Next we started a challenge!  We looked at a two-digit number and brainstormed how we could represent it in as many ways as possible.  We came up with so many!  

Next, students were sent to their groups and given mini whiteboards.  They were given a number and one of the new terms that they had learned and they had to express the number in the way that was asked.  After about 30 seconds "reveal" was announced and students were able to proudly display the work that they had done.  We had so much fun.  When students are given the white boards, it is amazing how much fun they have learning. Each person in the group was given a chance to answer a question, and then they passed it to the person to their right.  It is awesome to see the cooperation among students as they supported each other while they took turns answering.  Tomorrow, we will discuss regrouping: showing the same number in a different way

Monday, 23 September 2013

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Today Ms. Marra and Ms. Meehan discussed fiction and non-fiction text with the students.  We looked at their different text features and discussed different reading strategies that we could use while reading these texts. 
the anchor chart helped the students to classify their books
Next, students were partnered and went on a book hunt!  Their mission was to find two fictional and two non-fiction books in our class library.  Partners had to use good communication skills and cooperation to find the books that they needed to complete their mission.  
student cooperation
After they found their texts they had to classify them and give evidence to support the classification that they had chosen. 

Some groups realized that books were not as easy to classify as they thought.  For example, if there is a book about airplanes that does not have a beginning, middle or end but does not have a table of contents or an index does that mean that it is fiction or non-fiction?  

When students finished their classification they placed their books in three piles, fiction, non-fiction and "?"  Later in the week we will continue our discussion about texts.  We love reading!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Procedural Writing: Introductory Activity

Before beginning our focus on Procedural Writing, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra decided to do a fun activity with the students that was intended to spark questions and thoughts around effective procedural writing.

Here is what we did..

We gathered both classes together and gave them step-by-step instructions on how to create a SPECIFIC paper cut-out. We did not show them what this cut out should look like.

We projected the materials on the board and began to go through each step of our instructions. We told the students NOT to ask any questions or seek clarification during the activity, but rather, simply focus on following the steps to the best of your ability.

Materials included the following: pencil, paper, and scissors.

The instructions began to be displayed one-by-one. 

STEP 1: Fold your paper in half.
STEP 2: Fold your paper in half again.

Students began to look around the room to see if they had been folding the paper in the "right" way...

STEP 3: Draw a curved line on your paper. 

Students began to wonder where to draw the curved line and how long it should be... However, no questions could be asked.

STEP 4: Cut along your curved line.

Students all began to cut along their curved line while still glancing around at their classmates to see how their design differed from others...

STEP 5: Draw three dots at the top of your cut-out with three different coloured pencils.

STEP 6: Draw two hearts at the bottom of the cut-out with two different coloured pencils.

Students didn't have the pencil crayons they needed, but couldn't leave their seats. They had to use the materials that they had.

After everyone had completed all of the steps to the paper-cut out activity, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra revealed what their paper cut-out should look like (see yellow paper posted on the board). We asked students to raise their hand if their cut-out looked like the way it was intended to look and only 1 student was remotely close to the paper-cut out design.

We asked students why none of them had the same paper cut out as the one on the board, even though they followed the instructions.

Conclusions from the students:

- Instructions must have MORE detail
- Instructions must list all of the necessary materials needed
- Instructions could also show pictures of each step of the way to help make it more clear

Now that we know this, we have moved onto the collaborative procedural writing. We will show you what we create throughout the next coming weeks.

I wonder... What's going on with all of this construction?

Our human line beginning to form in order to draw our safety line.
Last week, while the weather was still warm, we ventured out into our school yard to improve our school safety. We created a safety line around the school yard fence to help remind all students of a safe playing distance. 

We began to draw a very long safety line with our sidewalk chalk in front of the fences. Since our students are now experts on types of lines, we decided as a class that using a broken line to curve around the fence in a yellow coloured chalk will be the most effective way to reminds students to keep a safe distance from the fences. 

Two pieces of chalk were passed down the line and each student had to continue the broken line and ensure that they keep about 1 metre from the fence. We demonstrated what 1 metre looks like and made sure we all stood 1 metre from the fence. Our learning about lines continued and we even began to learn about measurement! 

Here are some of the students hard at work! 
The collaboration and efforts of all our students was amazing...

Passing on the chalk to the next person to continue the broken line.

Look at the precision of our broken lines! 

After we completed our broken line, the students began to naturally gather and begin to discuss their surroundings... and another LEARNING OPPORTUNITY was born! 

Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra noticed the inquiry that was developing and decided to make a learning experience of it. Our students are very curious about what is developing in the construction site at our school. So we asked them to take a seat outside and ask questions about what they see...

Students naturally discussing what they see and what they think is happening around the construction site.
The construction that is occurring in our school's yard.

After having some time to observe, reflect, and discuss with other peers, the students were gathered back into our classroom and created an, "I WONDER..." question. 
Our students asked a lot of thoughtful and interesting questions! Take a look...

So, what's next? Well Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra are going to see if the site coordinator of the construction site can come and visit our classes to answer the many questions we have! We are so excited to hear answers to our "I WONDER..." questions.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Exploring Different Kinds of Texts

Our Grade 3 students are given self-selected reading time in the class every single day. At this time they are encouraged to pick a text that they are interested in and read for about 15 minutes in a comfortable spot in the classroom.

Some of the texts that they choose are: magazines, fiction stories, picture books, novels, newspaper articles, comics, game-related books, non-fiction books, etc.

Maps of Monsters
As we noticed all of the variety of texts the students began to bring in... it gave us an idea for a teaching moment!

This week, we are going to begin the exploration and discussion of the various types of texts and the different purposes of specific texts based on what they students are reading (and interested in). 


More comics!


Non-Fiction Biographies
Picture Books

Many of our students enjoy sharing their texts and
reads with their classmates


Lego Battles