Friday, 22 May 2015

Fractions & Powtoon: Five for Friday

We started our ABC Countdown (although we are calling it a celebration to try and keep anxiety low and our own glee hidden). We are two days in - so only 24 to go!! To share a few things from our week  I am linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

I finally got around to using Powtoon with my Grade 1 class. I love this program and used it with my students last year in Grade 3/4 and taught my own daughters to use it to create presentations for their assignments. This is the Powtoon I made to introduce fourths to my students.



Here is the work my students did with the cookie question.
First we talked about what we knew about half and fractions. Then I gave them the word fourths and we brainstormed what it might mean. We watched the Powtoon - I could not get the voice recording to work so I read it in my best announcer voice.
We had some good discussion about what we knew from the picture - that there were 12 cookies, if we split them in half there would be 6 and 6. Some students thought it would be a good idea to cut each cookie in 4 pieces. We talked about how messy and crumbly and not exact that could be.
But of course some of my students could not move past the idea of cutting the cookies in four equal pieces. So after sharing our thinking - the two ways of solving the problem - I took 12 paper cookies and cut them in fourths. Then we shared all the pieces on four plates. Each person got 12 cookie pieces - which could be put together to make 3 cookies!! Lightbulb moment : )

We started our ABC celebration (as I mentioned above!). On Thursday we brought in an animal stuffy. What I love about the ABC celebration is that you can do so much learning around the theme and the kids are totally engaged!! Here we are measuring and comparing our animals - mine is the dragon - I may have known the learning we would be doing and ensured I would win - but the snake was a close call : )

I found a great book for next year for launching reading workshop Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley. I have it in my class right now - as a great review of what good readers do when they are reading - make predictions, infer, ask questions, use picture clues etc.
I am not always a huge fan of wordless picture books but this one has a lot of details in the photographs so it is easy for students to tell the story and make predictions. This book makes the story clear and perfect for a read aloud.

Lastly we finished our letters to our favorite local community restaurants - I can't wait to get them in the mall in the hopes that they decide to send us some free food or coupons or something!!

Be sure to check back in this weekend to find out how we are using the book Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet to kick off our persuasive writing unit.

Monday, 18 May 2015

What's on My Bookshelf - A Beautiful Book About Feelings

I have been using so many books I have wanted to blog about but this book, this book I had to highlight and share right away.

This is my favorite new book on my bookshelf.
Click on the picture to check it out on Amazon

Okay, when I saw this book I had to pick it up. When my kiddos saw this book they were hooked. I had it on the table near our carpet area and anyone who spied it had to ask about it and when we would be reading it.

The pictures may not do it justice - but the heart on the cover is a cut-out with all those smaller heart cut-outs. It just grabs you and makes you want to read it and touch it (as my students did) and look at it again (as my students did, "Can you go back to...Can you show us....Can I hold it and look at it").

Many pictures to try and show you how beautiful this book cover is!!

Engaging illustrations and text inside the book!

“My heart is full of feelings. Big feelings and small feelings. Loud feelings and quiet feelings. Quick feelings and slow feelings. My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside.”

I love that this book talks about a calm heart, a happy heart, a silly heart, a brave heart, a broken heart and more. So many opportunities for your students to make connections to their own feelings. The book also gives great examples of what the feeling is like:

Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright.
I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast,
I feel as if I could take off into the sky.
This is when my heart is happy.

After reading this book we created an anchor chart of feelings from the book and added anymore that we knew. The book is a great way to open discussion about how our what our body is doing, what actions we take, what words we say...when we are feeling a certain way.

Next we wrote about how our heart was feeling and why.

Here are some writing pages you could use (general and with specific feelings). Click here to pick up a copy.

You could also use this book as a springboard for discussing how characters are feeling in a book, what actions and words let us know how they are feeling and how we connect to them.

Here are some making connection pages I have used to make connections to the way characters are feelings in books. Click here to pick up a copy.

Well I hope I have convinced you to check out this beautiful book!!

As always, I would love to know...

Friday, 8 May 2015

Symmetry and Bandaid Family - 5 for Friday

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel my friends. It has been a long, long, long tunnel but the glimmer of summer at the end is in sight. I am linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

This week we continued working on symmetry. We did this class activity - it is based on a picture from Pinterest that comes from First Grade Wow
I placed two metre sticks in the middle of our carpet. I cut construction paper into squares then triangles. We passed out the triangles. I got us started by placing my triangle. Students took turns adding a triangle or adding their triangle to make sure our design was symmetrical.

Then half of the class went to their desk with a pipe cleaner and some pattern blocks. They created one half of a design. Then the other half of the students found a partner and tried to create the other half of the design. Some were very tricky.

We made this class anchor chart inspired by the one I found on Pinterest from Northwestern Kiddies
We also watched this booktalk (since I could not get a hold of a copy of the book in time!!)

We watched the video one time through, then we re-watched it and stopped the video to add lines of symmetry to the various objects. It would be great with a document camera too!

If you are looking for a fun symmetry idea check out my math game (read about it here)

We also worked on words with "ou" and "ow". I used some of the resources from the pack The Out of Towners from Cara Carroll.
First I introduced the sound with the Band-Aid Family. We talked about what we say when we get hurt and need a Band-Aid. Then we used some of the picture sorts from the pack to make our anchor chart.

We used some of the craftivity resources from the Cara Carroll pack to brainstorm what we would take on a trip out of town, where we would go and what we would see.
We read this book
to see what postcards looked like and what their purpose was.
Then students used a large index card to create a postcard scene. They added the Band-aid family and wrote a few sentences about something that they saw. We tried, we really tried to add adjectives - some success, some....not so much.
Well that is a little sample from our week. I am keeping my eye on that light my friends!!!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Math Game Show - Spark Student Motivation

This week was one of those weeks with so many interruptions you are not sure when you are going to actually be in your classroom to teach. When the week becomes choppy and our routine flies out the window I often try to fit in a concept that we can cover or review in a few days, something that is a little lighter and that the kids have fun with. So this week we looked at symmetry. Since this is a concept that most students experience success with I decided to strongly tie it into one of the mathematical process: reasoning and proving.

How did I do all of this in a crazy, hectic week you ask. Well I did it by.....

Here is what I did. First I got a few key youtube videos ready to go.

This first video is great for building excitement to start off your lesson. I used the Family Feud theme but the Price is Right theme is also here.

You will also want to have the "thinking" music from Jeopardy ready to go - this one can play it for an hour!!

I brought in a music stand for my hosting podium and the microphone from our Rockband game (wish I had an FM system but I can boom my voice when I want!!).

Then the fun began. With the theme music playing and my best announcer voice booming I called my students over to the carpet to join our studio audience. I introduced the host (me - this is just a sample) and the contestants.

Continuing in my best host voice we went through the slides reviewing symmetry before getting to the question

But, students did not just get to say whether or not the figure was symmetrical they had to figure out and prove which contestant had the right answer.

I gave table groups copies of the shapes from the game show so they could test the different answers given by the contestants and prove which answer is correct. Another option is to assign students to a contestant and they figure out if their contestant is correct. You could also have students work in pairs or as a whole group using interactive whiteboard tools. While students were working I kindly played the thinking music from Jeopardy.

We would come back together as a class. I would call out the contestant's answers and with a round of applause my class would tell me who they thought was right. Sometimes there were disagreements or misconceptions we had to work through together as a class. This was the perfect opportunity to call audience members to the stage (my podium) to share their thinking and model. Once we reached a consensus we would assign points to the correct contestant.

Here was our scoreboard during our commercial break.

The game could not be completed within one math period - so we of course took a commercial break. While my students were having a snack before recess I played a few commercials from youtube. I know a few kid friendly commercials but find movie trailers to be the safest. We watched the one for the new Peanuts movie , the Inside Out movie and the Minion movie.

While I called my students down - you could also hand out tickets for the game show. Here is a file I created that you could use for any game - print on colorful cardstock and laminate to reuse. Click here to get a copy.

If you want to check out the game show and follow up activities I created click on the picture.

You can check out this blog post to read about another math game show we did in grade 3.

Since this activity definitely motivated my students I am linking up with my friend Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her truly inspirational linky....