Happy New Year and welcome back to all! With report cards just around the corner, we have been working feverishly to wrap up a number of projects. The work we have done on these projects will continue next week as we work to complete these fully. Please review other posts on my blog from this past week for a more in-depth look into some of the activities we have been doing in the course of these projects.
Social Studies/Language – This week, we turned from the general research into the various issues students have selected and have been investigating (e.g., First Nations Issues, global warming, the effects of human construction on the environment) and began connecting these to regions of Canada (Grade 4) and the role of government in tackling these issues (Grade 5). We will continue these investigations next week and I will start introducing teacher-selected text resources to help build an understanding of regions and governments. We will have some directed, guided readings on these topics where we approach the text not just from a Social Studies content perspective but also from a reader/Language perspective.
Science – Having worked through the scientific method, and planning activities, many students have begun building their experiments investigating either light/sound (Grade 4) or forces/effects on structures (Grade 5). Many students had created guiding questions that, as they worked through the planning for their experiments, were found to be wanting in some regard. This provided the opportunity for some excellent one on one talk with individuals and groups about why they were struggling with designing their experiment (i.e., there were problems with the original question). We will continue building these experiments next week and, hopefully, will conduct our experiments the following week to begin drawing conclusions.
Math – This week we focused on data management, collecting a variety of data, organizing, and ordering it. We introduced the concept of median and mode, using data ordering and stem and leaf plotting. For calculating median, we also talked briefly about the concept of mean. On Friday, we had a visit from the Board’s Math Consultant, Mrs. Seo, who did a number talk on division. Next week, we will begin plotting our data in a variety of graphs and looking at how we can examine this data to reach conclusions. I will also be administering a related task to assess student students’ level of understanding of the concepts taught. Depending on how far we get, we will turn our eye towards some patterning activities later in the week.
Language – We are finally wrapping our rants (Grade 4) and earthquakes vs. hurricanes opinion pieces (Grade 5). Using feedback I provided online (you can see this on your student’s blog), students have been bumping up their work in preparation for their final delivery. Next week, we will begin marking up our good copies with self-instructions for oral presentation, based on work we did in December. Students will begin recording their presentations next week. Please see my blog for a full list of the curricular learning areas students have been working with in the course of this project (i.e., Success Criteria).
We also did a fair bit of work on our advertisements this week. Again, you can visit the Success Criteria that we have developed for our ads to see the curricular expectations that we are addressing. Most students are well into developing a plan for their ad (using flow charts or storyboards) and some have begun producing rough drafts. It is unlikely that these projects will be fully complete by report card time, however, next week, I would like to have all students completing their rough drafts and beginning the process of editing.
Lastly, we have started to talk about book reviews. Students have independent reading time throughout the week and they will be reviewing a work of fiction that they have been reading during this time. We have begun talking about summaries and book reviews and we will be starting to ramp this up in the coming week. Most students have completed or are close to completing their book. I have encouraged students that are behind in this regard to do some supplemental reading at home.