Thursday, 12 March 2015

What we did this week

We have no kids tomorrow as it is Report Card Writing Day. I am already done my reports (yahoo) so I will be spending the day cleaning, organizing stuff and getting ready for my sub next week as I will be in Palm Springs for the week for the annual CUE Conference. (Computer using Educators….tech stuff)

I had a ton of photos on my ipad of things we did this week and I thought I would share some! I love seeing photos of people doing things in their class as it always gives me ideas! I get waaayyy more ideas for activities from people sharing pics, than people sharing a product they made :s (just saying….I know I share products too at times!)

So here are some things we worked on in no particular order:

Working on Ideas in Writing:

We read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown and worked on using her structure to write interesting sentences that stick to the main idea. We wrote one together, they wrote one with a partner and then they wrote one by themselves.

Here is our Ideas Anchor Chart (ideas for the chart are from 6+1 Writing Traits)

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Here is the one we wrote together:

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Here are some of the ones they wrote independently. Quite a few of my students struggled with this. They reverted back to the “ I like it, it is good, it is fun” types of sentences. This is a tough activity when 20 out of 23 students of mine are EAL. We worked on whiteboards so as to easily write and re write if needed.


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(The important thing about a shark is that it can fight with a dangerous animal. They surf for food like seals and fish. They are fast like a motorcycle and they eat people too. Their teeth are very sharp. They are amazing. But the most important thing about a shark is that it can fight with a dangerous animal.)

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Portrait Drawing in Art

I made a makeshift document camera with my ipad and lamps! It worked alright. I used the camera app to document what I was drawing and display it on the smartboard for them to watch step by step. Could I have drawn on the smartboard? Yes. Could I have drawn on the whiteboard? Of course. But I wanted to try it out. Excited to use it to show things in math !

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Art Video

I keep all the kids art at school in a big folder until the end of the year and then they take it all home. We decided to make a video to share at conferences to show moms and dads all our art so far because they haven’t seen any of it!
We took pictures of every piece of art in our folder and then used Shadow Puppet to create a video. Students had to add a title to each piece of art and chose music for the background.

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Morning Message

I realized that we have some misconceptions about turnaround facts in math. We have been talking a lot about how when you add, you can flip or turnaround the parts and you get the same answer. Well they have been thinking that the same is true for subtraction.

Teaching moment: re- go over that when you subtract the bigger number needs to go first. Fact Family !

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Another Art Piece! Collaborative Abstract Art

Students were given criteria and they had to work with a partner to plan and create an piece.
Choose 1 colour paint
Choose 2 shapes (each paints one)
Paint shapes in black
Use the paint to make a tint and a shade
Fill in all sections with no white space

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And here, in all its glory is the wonderfulness of the Open Area School. The arrows indicate different things going on in the same area. We have kids working on Art (inside and outside the classroom), kids on computers, teachers having an impromptu hallway meeting, an EA working 1:1 with a student, and kids listening to a story in their classroom. It’s a tad crazy at times!

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Tomorrow is Friday and my Birthday!!! Goodbye to my 20’s! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Simple Effective Math Activities

Hello folks,

I wanted to share some of the simple math activities we have been using in class lately.

I for one, hate printing in ink, hate printing things with tons of extra clipart (sorry!) and do not like activities which are a one time go. (ex. worksheets) While I do use worksheets on occasion, for subs or some summative assessment, I try to stay away from them. Waayyy to much paper being used and the activity can’t be repeated.

Almost all of the math activities my kids engage in use whiteboards and math materials. (dice, ten frame cards, deck of cards, counters, game boards, etc) There are exceptions however and I do make and print simple games for my kids!

I try to plan activities that my kids can go to over and over again and continue to learn new things.

Here are some of the activities that are in our bins right now for Math Daily 5.

Memory 5 

Kids are playing memory and matching up combinations that make 5. I made cards with dot patterns, numbers, and finger patterns on them. You could easily use a deck of cards or ten frame cards and only use the cards that make 5!

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Clear the Board

This is counting on game. Be the first person to clear all your counters off the board by rolling 2 dice and adding!


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Ways to Make

Kids have a target number and double sided chips. Drop your chips and record all the different ways to make your number by adding red plus white. This is another activity we do again and again on whiteboards. Easily differentiated by changing the number of chips!

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Hundreds Chart Puzzles

Print out a hundreds chart and cut it up! Students work to put it back in the correct order. I made about 6 different puzzles, all with varying degrees of difficulty. Students can continue to go back and try the different ones. Lots of number sense and pattern thinking needed!

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Roll and Add

Roll 2 dice, add and record! I made my own dice on foam blocks so students could practice certain number combinations. Put inside a page protector to use as a whiteboard.

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What kind of simple activities are you using in math? I would love some new easy ideas!
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