October 3rd - 7th
We're at the point now where I have a pretty solid idea about the challenges for the group and the challenges for each of the individuals in it. Now it's just a matter of trying to balance the need for forward momentum with the complex demands of curricula alongside the urgent need to focus on basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, and team-work!
In the area of writing, I think the freedom of free-form poetry allowed the students to relax and focus on making their writing flowing, descriptive, authentic and convincing: as soon as the students can make their words 'dance' across the page, then interest and love of writing isn’t usually far behind! Of course, the technical aspect of writing can loom like a dark cloud for some, but I think the students will be ready and willing to work on that area too – as indeed they will be during this upcoming week!
The spelling work was not yet introduced – that will be happening this week. Also this week, a powerful spelling strategy will be taught and practised, and the student's personal spelling dictionaries will be constructed.
In Math, we are about half way through Unit 2. We will be wrapping up the Unit and completeing the end-of unit assessment this week. The students are excited about the various Math puzzles I introduced on Friday.
We also continued our Science work last week with the popular Invention Challenge 1, described below. The students are very excited about this Invention Challenge. In some ways, this is some of the best Science we do all year: the students are testing and hypothesizing wildly and powerfully with intelligence and true passion. They don't even realize that they are doing a slightly wild version of science – until they open their science journals and start keeping records of their activity this week!
This week features the closing of the Perfect World project after the students make their presentations on Monday, Photo day on Wednesday, and a local walk on Thursday to write descriptive poetry.
Another epic week ahead...
As part of the whole-school philosophy, each class begins most days with a thirty-minute long class meeting.
The meeting is structured into four phases:
Message - topic of the day, often with academic angle. This week, we're back to Math practice.
Activities - short, fun community enhancing activities
This week's activities may include the game Fizz-buzz, a Math game called Pico-Ferme-Nada and the popular game, Alibi. We are going to try a game introduced by Coral called Mafia!
We will sing our small collection of classics this week: Radioactive, Eleanor Rigby and Stand by me.
We are going to begin reading The Eyes of Kid Midas, written by Neal Shusterman, (www.storyman.com) using this story as a launch pad for various Journey's based lessons.
I will be reading chapters of the book to the students. The students will be rereading the chapters themselves then taking part in various activities including topical discussions, Reader's Theater and analysis of the text:
The Journeys focus lesson this week is on theme in stories.
Students will discuss what are the main themes the writer is exploring in the novel so far. We will be looking more deeply into Chapter 1, again, for this discussion.
We will also review and discuss the previous lessons:
- Students will list the main events of Chapter 1 and 2 of the book.
- Character problems and resolutions - using T charts
- Compare and contrast main characters - using Venn diagrams
The students will highlight sections of Chapter 1 for their second reader's theater experience.
One focus this week will be writing descriptive poetry based on sensual experience: firstly, related to sounds we hear, then things we smell, then finally utilizing all of the senses on a local walk to a park. Another focus this week will be work on typing, editing and proofreading selected rough draft poems and descriptions to be included on the upcoming Writing Workshop web pages launch.
The final focus will be writing about our reading using the Journeys lessons as described below.
Sound poetry - listen to atmospheric music and write descriptive poetry. Introduce similies.
Smell poetry - smell various substances and write descriptive poetry. Use similies.
Type, proofread and edit with partner favorite free-form poems.
Discuss theme from Chapter one and two of Eyes of Kid Midas.
Descriptive writing: Take a local walk to a park by the Mystic river. Write descriptive poetry.
Type, proofread and edit with partner favorite free-form poems - part 2
Spelling dictionaries, Look-cover-remember-write-check spelling strategy, Spelling lists and partner tests.
Type, proofread and edit with partner favorite free-form poems - part 2
Discuss list events from Chapter one and two of Eyes of Kid Midas.
We completed Unit one last week in Math. The assessment at the end of the unit allowed me to form Math groups, based on how the students did in the assessment.
The lessons for this week look like this:
Lesson 2.5 - Problem solving
Lesson 2.6 - Adding Decimals
Lesson 2.7 - Subtracting Decimals
End of unit test preparation.
(Homework: Practice test preparation exercise)
End of unit assessment. Students who finish early - Multi-step problems.
(No Math homework)
There will be daily practice worksheets Monday - Thursday for Math homework.
Each worksheet will be due to be handed in the following day.
The worksheet number will be posted in the Assignment book each day as well as here in the Math section.
These projects are all adapted from 101 Mathematical Projects, by Brian Bolt and David Hobbs.
Choose from these or invent your own. I'll be adding more and more to this collection...
Some fiendishly tricky math puzzles for you.
Can you solve any of them?
It's still not quite done yet!
The students have almost finished designing their own PowerPoints to 'sell' their Perfect Worlds to an audience. The part that I want to spend a bit more time on this week is scaffolding the design of group drama skits, incorporating dance, music and speeches to go along with their presentations.
We're going to work on it quite a bit on Monday. If possible, we will wrap it up on Monday afternoon.
Each aspect of the project will be 'graded' using the rubric system.
On the Rubric page is the rubric I will use to ascertain teamwork scores for each group. This is the heart of this particular project.
I've also published the subject rubric on the Rubric Home Page.
The first challenge is to design and build a wheeled device, using K'Nex, that rolls furthest from the top of a ramp.
We begin our first science unit on the subject of Simple Machines by taking part in this first of several Invention Challenges.
Designs are entered into a Ramp Run Challenge competition.
enter their vehicle into the competition. Design
team-ups are mandated.
We investigate: What are the main problems each design faces?
Students generate testable hypotheses, identify independent variables, control dependent variables, conduct tests, improve designs, keep records of results.
It's a great way to
introduce the students to the essence of Science in a format they all
In the final competition, we award Gold, Silver, Bronze, as well as Most Original, Most Unlucky, and Most Artistic awards!
Students will be:
- Writing about vehicles - prepare for web-publish
- Take photo of vehicle
Continue testing vehicles. Keep records in a chart of distances achieved.
- Wheel size
Tune back in here next Sunday for the next thrilling full plan!!
Homework will be continuing on this Friday, October 7th.
Students will usually receive their project homework jobs for the whole week each Friday.
Look for it in the student's backpack.
The students have included a plan in their assignment book for when they intend to complete each job. Please review this plan with your child and advise them on the practicality of their plan and make adjustments accordingly!
I will be doing a detailed introduction to the next project in school on Friday.
Each project will be up on the 'Homework' page here at the site each Friday evening.
See you back here next week!
This is the route to the 'Specialist Class' page.
This page is for the students and parents of Ms. O'Donnell to find out about what happens during the Science class!