Week 22 Review, Week 23 Preview (Feb. 20-23)

We spent the whole week in Math working on a task that had students budgeting out a week’s worth of groceries for a family of 4. Students only had $150 to spend. The task introduced not only counting money to hundreds but also focused on working decimals. Grade 4s rounded all amounts to the nearest tenth while grade 5s worked to the penny. In addition to estimating and calculating totals, we worked in some data management skills by making decisions on how to best layout the information so that we could work with the numbers. Incidentally, we mirrored this same skill in our Science experiments as students prepared data charts to manage their observations for their experiments (we got close to conducting these experiments and will run them next week). Categories of food (e.g., meat/seafood and fruits/vegetables) were pulled out of this master list and ordered to provide sub-totals. We talked about a variety of ways to estimate and calculate these amounts, including algorithmic approaches. We also had a quiz on fractions on Tuesday. Thank you to those who signed and returned these quizzes. I met with students that were still having some difficulty with fractions on Friday nutrition break. We will continue with fractions (striking while the iron is hot!) in the upcoming week. We will be creating room length number lines using a variety of fractions and exploring concepts of equivalency and conversion.

In Language, our book reviews are close to being complete with many students bringing their book recommendations online already. The focus for this writing has been the structuring of paragraphs and writing introductory and concluding sentences. In addition, we are looking at run-on sentences. When these reviews are finished, students will provide some peer feedback, I will provide feedback and we will then bump up our work. I am hoping that students will want to send these reviews to an online publication site for student written reviews. This will give us an opportunity to talk about the importance of cleaning up work when it is ready for publishing. We also spent time this week on our advertisements and students are now actively creating their ads. We had a number of great talks about intellectual property rights (i.e., copyright) and what they can and can’t use from the internet in their own work. The various file formats flying around required us to talk about setting up folders in our Google Drive to ensure safe saving of these files and easy transfer between devices. Very impressive to see kids working with so much digital content. Next week, we will start to morph from the collection/creation of separate parts of our ads and begin putting them together using plans already devised by the students. I should not fail to also mention that our read aloud from The Hobbit continues. We are about halfway through the book. The kids love Gollum. I like doing the character voices (probably more than the students like hearing them)!

We have continued the beginnings of our exploration into new strands from  the Social Studies curriculum – Early Societies for grade 4 and First Nations/early European contact for grade 5. They have SO many questions. It is wonderful. On Thursday, we had meant to continue with an activity but we spent the whole period having a class discussion about a variety of related topics. Such curiosity. We will continue developing “I wonder” questions, using expectations from the curriculum as our guide, for a period or two next week. From there, I would like the students to develop some ideas as to where they would like to go with their learning in these areas. We will do some structured brainstorming sessions next week and have the class define a project (or projects) that we might do to learn in these areas.

In Music, our compositions continue too. Some groups have finished taking the musical score written by other students and have programmed the piano part into a new song project in GarageBand. Other groups still need a bit more time to finish. As this is computer generated music, students can now start to play around with different instruments (e.g., they could turn their piano line into a heavy organ or a brass section). Our next step will be to write melodies and to then add other accompanying instruments (e.g., rhythm tracks). We will begin exploring mood in talking about these different instrument groups as well the effect of tempo on mood.

Enjoy Family Day on Monday!


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