My apologies for not providing an update last week. With the winter concert season, it has been extremely busy! As you know, over the last couple weeks we had been looking at division and its relationship to multiplication. In doing some breakdown of student skills at our PA Day a couple weeks ago, however, it became clear that there were some underlying skills that needed strengthening in order for students to better grasp concepts of division and multiplication. In particular, students understanding of place value needed some support. In looking at this though, what became even clearer is that students struggled to understand the magnitude of numbers and consequently, visualizing and working with the concept of place value was difficult. We have spent the last two weeks delving into problems that involve working with magnitude. We have been focusing on determining appropriate quantity estimations for different situations. For example, we walked down to the mountain brow one day where students chose a variety of things they saw (e.g., the parking lot at the Chedoke golf course, apartment buildings downtown) and talked about quantity. Are there hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people that live in that apartment? What about the parking lot? How many cars can it hold? We used a number of pictures showing different quantities as well. From there, students developed different strategies on how to estimate and calculate the amounts. We discussed these strategies and worked together to practise a number of different approaches (e.g., using their understanding of shapes to help them determine quantity, using rows and columns and multiplication, making conncetions with area and volume, etc).
We have continued our work into advertisements and media over several periods as students continue to plan their commercials. We turned to looking at XMas commercials, identifying techniques that advertisers use to “hook” children their age. Our other writing projects, and science experiments are all at the point where the rough work, preparatory parts of the process are complete -i.e., they are ready to build, present, or produce good copies. This will be a focus when we return.
Of course, we have had a number of holiday related activities over the past two weeks – attending the Wonder movie, Holiday Concert dress rehearsal presentation, writing lyrics to our concert song, and writing skits that show what happens in different homes, from different cultures on Dec. 25. This has been a fun, coming together experience for our class!
As you can see, I have not outlined where we are heading from here. There are a number of school related things happening next week in the school with a seemingly new activity added each day! We will be flexible in how we spend our time together. As for where we will be picking up after the Holidays, I will be mulling this over in the days after New Year. Stay tuned, I will let you know when we come back. By the way, this will be my last update for the year. Happy Holidays to all!